Morehouse Students Turn Their Backs, Walk Out During Biden's Speech

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Several students at Morehouse College protested against President Joe Biden's commencement address amid the administration's controversial stance on the war in Gaza, per the New York Times.

On Sunday (May 19), Biden delivered the commencement address for a Morehouse graduation ceremony and received an honorary degree from the HBCU.

Some Morehouse alumni welcomed Biden to the stage with a standing ovation while several graduates wearing keffiyeh scarves and Palestinian flags turned their chairs away from the president during his speech. Other Morehouse students walked out of the ceremony in protest of Biden.

“I support peaceful nonviolent protest,” Biden told students in his speech. “Your voices should be heard, and I promise you I hear them.” He also said he is "working around the clock” for an immediate ceasefire.

At the conclusion of Biden's commencement address, people in the VIP section shouted, "Four more years."

The protests come after students, alumni, and some faculty members pushed back on Morehouse's decision to host Biden as the commencement speaker and award him with an honorary doctorate degree.

In a letter to Morehouse officials, Dr. Marlon Millner, a Morehouse alum, asked that the school “not award [an] honorary degree to someone morally complicit in a war in Gaza.”

“[Morehouse alumni Martin Luther King Jr.] challenged a historically courageous [Lyndon B. Johnson] on Vietnam after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. That’s moral courage, not moral complicity or moral complacency,” Millner wrote. “Morehouse does produce businessmen, but let’s not fail to produce better men. Morehouse does produce politicians, but let’s not fail to produce men of principle. This is a defining moment where actions, not accolades will matter.”

Before Biden's commencement speech, Morehouse valedictorian DeAngelo Fletcher addressed the graduating class, calling for an “immediate and permanent ceasefire in the Gaza strip."

Fletcher was applauded for his speech by the audience and Biden, who shook his hand, according to reports.

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