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Morehouse president denies disinviting Obama critic from graduation ceremonies

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Morehouse College graudationThe president of Morehouse College has strongly denied allegations that the controversial change in the school’s graduation ceremonies that culminated in a prominent alumnus no longer participating was an effort to stifle political debate.

Morehouse President John Silvanus Wilson, Jr. wrote in an open letter Tuesday that the Rev. Kevin Johnson, a prominent Philadelphia pastor who was named baccalaureate speaker but allegedly found himself on the outs with top school administrators after criticizing President Barack Obama, was “not disinvited.”

Instead, Wilson said, the original speaker elected not to participate in a modified format that school administrators believed was “more creative.”

“I … made a decision to adjust the format of the Baccalaureate program and opted for a more creative, multi-speaker approach that is used by many leading institutions …” Wilson wrote. “In this instance, I decided to ask [Johnson] to share the Baccalaureate stage with two other speakers so as to reflect a broader and more inclusive range of viewpoints. To my chagrin, my decision has been wrongly construed by some as an effort to ‘disinvite’ this individual.”

Johnson, who wrote a column in a Philadelphia newspaper earlier this month in which he criticized the president’s majority-white cabinet picks, said Wilson had expressed reservations about his comments and suggested he resign his role in the graduation ceremonies.

When Johson rebuffed administrators, Wilson moved to expand the baccalaureate program from one to three speakers, a break from tradition.

The reverend refused that offer as well, according to East Atlanta Patch, and asked by letter that Morehouse honor its original invitation that he deliver the sole baccalaureate address. Instead, the article said, Johnson soon learned he had been replaced altogether by a trio of new speakers.

But Wilson vigorously denied the implication Tuesday that his decision to alter the format of the baccalaureate service was motivated by Johnson’s criticism of President Obama, who will deliver the school’s commencement speech.

“He was not disinvited, but rather declined to participate in the format,” he said. “Worse yet, this decision has led to allegations of censorship … These allegations are fundamentally deleterious and are undeserved.”

The college’s response came as two dozen prominent alumni publicly urged Wilson to reappoint Johnson as the sole baccalaureate speaker.

- James Richardson


  1. Free speech for me and not for thee…discrimination alive and well at the house of More

  2. petie3

    Excellent example of bureaucratic BS explaining blatant censorship. If it looks like a duck…….

  3. 55V35IM

    Really? Why would they alter the format of the baccalaureate service unless they wanted to reduce the speaking time of the person they initially invited?

  4. Bob Bernet

    Diversity in every way but thought.

    • jackejack

      No kidding. Their notion of diversity is primarily based on appearance. White,Black,Asian,Hispanic,Native American,everyone looks different but they think the same. It’s like having 100 Honda Accords,painted different colors,but,all have the Value Package. They may look different but it’s the same car.

  5. kateorjane

    Did he ask BO to “share the stage” when he speaks at the college?

  6. Rab

    That’s what happens to independents that stray from the Democrat Plantation.

  7. Redpenmaster

    Libs are so devoid of principles and so incapable of persuasion that they must silence or smear anyone who disagrees.

  8. Appike

    Crabwalkin’ at it’s best… I would be ashamed if my alma mater (GT) pull something like this…

  9. BourgeoisNegroes

    President Obama probably ordered Morehouse President John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., to kill Rev. Kevin Johnson’s invitation. Google Wilson’s history, he used to work at The White House for Obama. What a hot mess of a shame on Morehouse College. Wilson just shot himself, he won’t last at Morehouse beyond 3-5 years. He should be gone today!

  10. rightthisway

    The usual glib trick of having a lib moderator and two lib panelists to drown out the one rino/conservative and then pretend that they cover issues or allow debate from ‘all’ sides. Disgusting but the worst is yet to come.

  11. Lies just follow Obama everywhere he goes.

  12. John, your love and fidelity to Morehouse is beyond dispute. However, to disinvite pastor Johnson is beneath the office and heritage of Morehouse.
    What Mr. Johnson said needed to be said and he had the right to say it.
    Remember, it was controversial when we had Minister Farrakhan speak during our baccalaureate in 1979 and Morehouse survived.
    The President is a big boy. Mr. Johnson’s comments precedes the President’s appearance by weeks. In addition their speeches will be separated by days.
    I strongly, respectfully disagree with your decision and would hope you would be more reflective in the future if such a situation arises again.
    Kim Wade

  13. BarryBarry

    Thus guy is too stupid to be a college president. How long did he spent dreaming up this lie?

  14. GoodbyeUSA

    Morehouse President John Silvanus Wilson, Jr. said, “These allegations are fundamentally deleterious and are undeserved.” Deleterious means harmful, but it does not mean untrue.

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