Slight Drama Over Obama's Morehouse Commencement Speech

The school is working to accommodate graduation-day remarks by the president and a vocal critic. 

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Barack Obama (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Washington Post reports that Morehouse College's president is working to quell a controversy over what role a vocal Obama critic will play at the May 19 graduation ceremony, where the president is scheduled to deliver an address.  

Morehouse College President John S. Wilson, who headed the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges before assuming the presidency in January, changed the baccalaureate address format after the invited speaker, Bright Hope Baptist Church senior pastor Kevin Johnson, published an opinion piece questioning the lack of diversity in Obama's second-term Cabinet. Wilson asked Johnson to speak as part of a three-person panel instead of by himself "to reflect a broader and more inclusive range of viewpoints."

In his first interview with a journalist on the subject, Wilson said Thursday he was engaged in negotiations with Johnson but "commencement weekend is for the graduates, their families and the visit by the president of the United States. Everything revolves around that precious principle."

Wilson, who has encouraged members of the college community to "focus our attention on important matters to the exclusion of distractions," told the Post, "We're not entirely happy that the baccalaureate program is not resolved," but "you can be confident we will resolve the situation, because we are Morehouse men."

Read more at the Washington Post.

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