Home » In a split vote, Morehouse faculty votes to award Biden an honorary doctorate

In a split vote, Morehouse faculty votes to award Biden an honorary doctorate

by NBC News

ATLANTA — Morehouse College’s faculty voted in favor of conferring an honorary doctorate on President Joe Biden during its upcoming graduation ceremony, where he is slated to deliver the commencement address.

But dozens of faculty members either voted against the honor or abstained from voting amid frustrations with some of the president’s policies and the school’s decision to host him as its commencement speaker.

The motion to award Biden the honorary degree passed 50-38, with roughly a dozen faculty members opting to abstain from the vote, according to two faculty members on the call.

The White House declined to comment, and Morehouse did not return a request for comment.

Morehouse leadership announced plans for Biden to receive the honorary degree last month, a decision it said was first made in September, prior to the historically Black college inviting Biden to serve as its commencement speaker.

But procedurally, administration officials overlooked a key step in the process, in which the 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. 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,” Morehouse said in a statement last week.

Still, the new timing of the vote — coming as college campuses nationwide saw protests over the war in Gaza — turned a typically mundane faculty vote into a vehicle for the staff members to, once again, voice their opposition to Biden’s visit.

In the week leading up to the vote, a small group of faculty members circulated a letter stating their opposition to the honorary degree, citing in part Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza.

“We recognize the honor that typically comes with having the most powerful elected person in the world speak at…

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