White House Official Stops By Morehouse To Address Issues Before Biden’s Speech

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A White House official met with students and faculty of Morehouse College ahead of Presdent Joe Biden’s commencement speech. The President is expected to speak at the HBCU’s graduation ceremony on May 19, but the announcement prompted some concerns.

Steve Benjamin, who leads the White House Office of Public Engagement, spoke with the small group to address some polarizing thoughts on his appearance. The biggest issues lie in the Biden administration’s response to the violence taking place in the Gaza Strip, as well as their continued support of Israel.

NBC News reported that Benjamin and the selected cohort from Morehouse’s community engaged in an hours-long conversation on May 10 to discuss the upcoming speech. The names of those present remained secret, but attendees vocalized all potential concerns with Biden’s appearance.

Many fear his presence will overshadow the graduates due to the backlash. Others, on the other hand, worry that the message will focus on Biden’s re-election and not the achievements of the all-men’s HBCU.

However, Benjamin spoke on behalf of the administration’s work toward bettering the Black community and college students. The contributors on both sides of the issue came forward in what the official deemed a “fair conversation.” However, it is unclear whether its impact led to a reversal of the decision for Biden to speak.

Morehouse, among other prominent HBCUs, has not engaged in significant protests against the Israel-Hamas war like other college campuses. Many student protestors, significantly at Columbia University and UCLA, faced violence by law enforcement while demonstrating on school grounds.

Despite this, students and faculty who were against Biden’s speech immediately spoke out following the announcement. Concerned faculty wrote a letter urging Morehouse officials to reconsider. They also argued that their alum, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., would not approve. The students engaged in another forum with the college’s president to share their sentiments.

While the announcement has sparked controversy, attempts to remedy any discontent among the Morehouse campus took place without further issue.

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