Justice group urges Morehouse to rescind Biden invite, others support speech

The Faculty & Staff for Justice in Palestine - Georgia have released a statement on social media in response to President Joe Biden being scheduled to deliver the commencement speech on May 19 at Morehouse College, a historically Black college in Atlanta.

According to the statement, the Faculty & Staff for Justice in Palestine believe that any college endorsing President Biden as a commencement speaker at this time is supporting genocide, referencing what they call "Israel's genocidal siege on Gaza" that occurred seven months ago.

They note that past commencement speakers at Morehouse College have upheld the school's moral legacy, but they do not see Biden as demonstrating sensitivity to wrongs, sufferings, and injustices.

The group highlights that the decision to invite Biden was made by the administration, not the students, and they stress the importance of involving students and faculty in decisions that impact them.

The Faculty & Staff for Justice in Palestine - Georgia are urging Morehouse to withdraw the invitation.

There have been protests on college campuses nationwide due to Biden's support for Israel during its conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Recent polls indicate that Biden and Harris need to gain support among Black voters, especially younger ones, and commencement speeches are an opportunity for presidents to connect with young audiences.

However, not everyone opposes Biden speaking at Morehouse. Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Morehouse graduate, expressed pride in Biden being the commencement speaker.

FOX 5 also interviewed students with varying opinions on Biden's commencement speech.

"I don't see any reasons to be against it," remarked freshman Truman Johnson.

"We pride ourselves on being the number one institution for Black men and Black male development in America – in the world. Part of that comes with having hard conversations that don’t have the right answer and don’t necessarily have an easy fix," added Eric Anders.

Krystal Bracy, from The Philos Project, an international education nonprofit, described the situation as "delicate," not just due to the division on the Israel-Hamas War, but also because of the timing.

"I’m sure many believe the chosen commencement speaker should unite the students and faculty together. This doesn’t appear to be a good choice along those lines," Bracy expressed.

Faculty and Morehouse leaders plan to convene on Thursday to address the matter. Despite attempts, Morehouse College did not respond to requests for comment on the controversy.

The Faculty for Justice in Palestine is a national network of organized academic chapters supporting Palestinian liberation efforts on college campuses.

In Atlanta, there have been numerous marches in support of Palestine over the past few months, as well as some rallies in support of Israel.


In December, a woman set herself on fire in protest of the war outside of the Israeli Consulate. 

A coalition of faith leaders, activists, and political organizations urged voters in Georgia to leave their ballots blank before the March 12 Presidential Primary. Georgia's "Leave It Blank Primary Campaign" followed similar efforts in Michigan, where nearly 100,000 Democrats voted "uncommitted" to Biden's re-election due to the war in Gaza.