Portrait of President Biden giving a commencement speech at Morehouse College, with students in the background holding signs about Gaza.

Morehouse Commencement: Biden Acknowledges Student Protests About Gaza During Speech – The Associated Press

President Biden Addresses Student Protests on Gaza at Morehouse College Commencement

Overview of the Event

During a highly anticipated commencement address at Morehouse College, President Joe Biden openly acknowledged the student protests concerning the situation in Gaza. The event, widely covered due to its significant political and educational context, became a platform for broader discussions on international policies and human rights issues.

Biden’s Speech Amid Protests

As President Biden took the stage, he was met with a mixture of applause and visible protests from some students and attendees. The protests were centered around the current administration’s policies and actions regarding Gaza, a topic of intense debate and concern among many advocacy groups and international observers. Biden, addressing the protests directly, emphasized the importance of being heard in a democratic society.

I see your signs, I hear your voices, the President said, acknowledging the protesters. He continued by explaining his administration’s position and actions, aiming to provide clarity on his foreign policy decisions. Biden’s response was seen as an attempt to bridge gaps between differing perspectives and to affirm his commitment to listening to young voices on matters of international significance.

Impact on Morehouse Commencement

The presence of protests at the commencement did not overshadow the celebratory nature of the event but added a distinct tone to the proceedings. Morehouse College, known for its strong legacy in civil rights and leadership among historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), has often encouraged its students to be engaged and vocal on critical issues. This incident highlighted the ongoing commitment of Morehouse students to advocacy and activism, aligning with the college’s historical ethos.

Reactions from Students and Faculty

Reactions among the students and faculty were mixed. Some expressed pride in their peers for taking a stand on such a crucial international issue, while others felt that the protests could have detracted from the celebratory events of the day. Faculty members reiterated the college’s support for free expression and peaceful protest as fundamental elements of an academic community.

Broader Implications of the Acknowledgment

President Biden’s acknowledgment of the protests at Morehouse College’s commencement goes beyond the immediate context, touching on the broader implications for how administrations engage with younger generations on complex global issues. His response also underscores an administration approach that is seemingly receptive to public discourse and protest, which could influence future policy considerations and public engagements.


The 2023 commencement at Morehouse College was memorable not just for its celebration of academic achievements but also for the interplay of political engagement and educational milestones. President Biden’s acknowledgement of the student protests about Gaza reflects an intersection of domestic education events with international political concerns, highlighting the role of academic institutions as arenas for active civic engagement and dialogue.


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