President Joe Biden, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Morehouse Faculty, Commencement Ceremony

Biden To Receive Honorary Doctorate from Morehouse Despite Split Vote from Faculty

Would you oppose Joe Biden speaking at your graduation?

Despite a difference of opinion from faculty members, Morehouse College will give President Joe Biden an honorary doctorate at its upcoming graduation, NBC News reports.

A number of the HBCU’s faculty members either voted against the decision or withheld their vote earlier this week given their frustrations with some of the president’s policies and the school’s decision to host him as the commencement speaker. Faculty voted in favor 50 to 38 to given Biden the degree.

Morehouse leadership announced the plans back in September 2023, prior to Biden accepting the invitation. However, the college overlooked the part of the protocol where faculty must vote to authorize that decision.

“It is imperative to clarify that the recent decision to convene to vote to award Biden an honorary degree is not in question because of current political affairs,” Morehouse said in a statement. “The decision to call for a faculty vote is due to a mistaken oversight in the process, which traditionally includes a faculty vote that usually takes place in September.”

But faculty at the male-only school expressed concern long before the vote. In a letter that circulated amongs leadership, a small group of faculty members addressed opposition to the degree in lieu of Biden’s stance on the war in Gaza.

“We recognize the honor that typically comes with having the most powerful elected person in the world speak at Morehouse,” the letter read. “At this time, however, salient policies of the United States government are responsible for the suffering of millions of people around the planet.” 

During an appearance at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, POTUS touched on the number of Morehouse men serving on his team. “I got more Morehouse men in my administration than Morehouse,” he said. 

Co-chair of the Biden-Harris re-election campaign and Morehouse alumnus Cedric Richmond defended the president, saying he “deserves” this recognition, highlighting Biden’s track record with the Black community between appointing Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson, the first Black woman to the Supreme Court to the lowest level of Black unemployment in history.

“In my eyes, he’s earned an honorary degree,” Richmond said.

Morehouse addressed some of the concerns over Biden during a meeting with a group of students, faculty, and head of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Steven Benjamin this month. With Gaza being the hot topic, attendees pressed Benjamin to guarantee Biden’s commencement address, on May 19, won’t turn into a campaign speech.

Biden won’t be the only dignitary receiving honors. According to Fox 47 News, famous alumni like civil rights activist Martin Luther King III, Oscar-winning producer and director Spike Lee, and actor Brian Tyree Henry, will be listed as notable alumni anniversaries

King and Lee graduated in 1979; Henry received his degree in 1999.

RELATED CONTENT: Morehouse University Remains Free Of Gaza Protests As MoodShifts