Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Morehouse College pushes the White House for ‘direct engagement’ ahead of Biden’s speech

By 37ci3 May1,2024

ATLANTA – Morehouse College faculty members are nervous about making a decision President Joe Biden delivers spoke at the school’s commencement address on May 19 and asked the White House to take some steps to address their concerns.

Regine Jackson, professor of sociology and dean of the Division of Humanities, Social Sciences, Media and the Arts, said faculty members were hoping for some “direct interaction” with Biden before his speech. City hall Vice President Kamala Harris visited the school last fall.

“There was an opportunity for an exchange, and we all understand that the beginning is not that opportunity [we’re] He is trying to find and carve out space and time for this,” said Jackson.

Jackson was among about 80 teachers who joined a virtual meeting organized by Morehouse administration leaders last week to give them a way to voice their concerns, largely based on concerns that Biden’s presence could distract from the graduation ceremony and cause him anxiety. Politics against Israel and its war in the Gaza Strip.

A Morehouse spokeswoman said a request for further dialogue with Biden is expected, and that the school is actively discussing a meeting with White House officials ahead of the commencement address.

The White House declined to comment.

Cedric Richmond speaks on stage
Cedric Richmond at Morehouse College in Atlanta in 2018.Paras Griffin/Getty Images file

A senior Democratic official involved in discussions with the Morehouse community is Cedric Richmond, a Morehouse graduate who co-chaired Biden’s re-election campaign.

“I’m friends with everyone there. Sure, I’m talking to them,” said Richmond, who said she intends to attend commencement but doesn’t plan on leaving school early.

“The president speaking at the college is not about the president. It’s about the college and the students,” he said. “How many schools graduate 500 blacks at a time?”

Morehouse is the only college in the country dedicated to the education of black men. This one of two colleges Biden to deliver commencement speeches this year; the other is the US Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Morehouse Provost Kendrick Brown, one of the officials who organized the call to address faculty concerns, acknowledged that a Harris-style town hall is unlikely given the president’s schedule, but he said they require some form of additional communication because tensions remain high. college campuses in Georgia and across the country due to the war in Gaza.

“We cannot control President Biden’s schedule. But we can say for sure that if it is possible, it would be great if we could deal with it before we start. What form that might take and how it might be expressed, of course, is still up for debate,” Brown said.

Concerns about Biden’s visit have grown among some teachers, as protests have sparked on college campuses. imprisonmentetc of students and allegations of excessive force by the police in some cases.

A Morehouse student was among 28 students arrested last week at a pro-Palestinian protest and encampment at nearby Emory University, raising concerns not only that similar protests will rock the Morehouse campus during Biden’s speech, but also that students will be met by force. law enforcement officers.

“We have a moral responsibility to speak out against injustices at Martin Luther King Jr.’s alma mater, and our students are being violently repressed and attacked for doing so. I fear what this will mean for our students,” said political science professor Andrew Douglas.

Students, faculty and administration also said they expect some kind of protests around the president’s visit this month, and are focused on preventing tensions at other schools from spilling over into Morehouse.

Douglas said he has spoken with several faculty members.under no circumstances Will they sit on the same stage as Joe Biden?

Jackson said: “The performances, I think we have to wait for them. I think we will be at our own peril if we don’t prepare for them.

“One of the things we see over and over again in this generation is their ability to be respectful on the one hand, and not be silenced on the other hand, and to make their voices heard.” Jackson said. “I expect nothing less from our graduating class.”

Richmond was also optimistic about decency.

“It’s a solemn event on a Sunday morning,” he said, “and I hope people will recognize that it’s solemn as they watch their parents, family and friends.”

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By 37ci3

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