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Biden’s planned Morehouse College commencement speech spurs alumni protest




Joe Biden will be the commencement speaker at Morehouse College in Georgia, giving the Democrat a key spotlight at one of the nation’s pre-eminent historically Black campuses but potentially exposing him to uncomfortable protests as he seeks re-election against Donald Trump.

The White House confirmed on Tuesday that Biden would speak on 19 May at the alma mater of the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr, and then address the graduating class at the United States Military Academy at West Point on 25 May.

The Morehouse announcement has drawn some backlash among the school’s faculty and supporters who are critical of Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war. That could put the White House and Biden’s re-election campaign in a difficult position as the president works to shore up the racially diverse coalition that propelled him to the Oval Office.

The letter, obtained by the Associated Press, claimed Biden’s approach to Israel effectively supports genocide in Gaza and runs counter to the pacifism that King expressed with his opposition to the Vietnam war.

“In inviting President Biden to campus, the college affirms a cruel standard that complicity in genocide merits no sanction from the institution that produced one of the towering advocates for nonviolence of the twentieth century,” the letter states, emphasizing King’s stance that “war is a hell that diminishes” humanity as a whole. “If the college cannot affirm this noble tradition of justice by rescinding its invitation to President Biden, then the college should reconsider its attachment to Dr King.”

Late last week, before the school and the White House formally announced commencement plans, Morehouse provost Kendrick Brown, Thomas’s top lieutenant, sent an email to all faculty acknowledging concerns about “rumors” and affirming that the school issued the invitation to Biden last September. That would have been before Hamas attacked Israel on 7 October, spurring the sustained counteroffensive that the Morehouse alumni letter called an act of genocide against Palestinians. Brown’s email did not reference anything about the Middle East conflict.

Brown invited faculty to an online forum, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, to discuss the matter. But, he added: “Please know going into this conversation that the College does not plan to rescind its accepted invitation to President Biden.”

Morehouse officials have not responded to an Associated Press inquiry.

Asked about the concerns from some faculty members, the White House deputy press secretary, Andrew Bates, said Biden was eager to speak at the school and added: “Commencements are about the graduates, their families and their loved ones, about celebrating the accomplishments of the graduates.

“I’m not going to weigh in on processes happening at Morehouse, but he looks forward to going there and celebrating with the graduates,” he added.

Earlier Tuesday, Thomas released a statement to that, like the provost’s faculty letter, highlighted the September timing of the invitation to Biden.

Thomas said Morehouse officials “eagerly anticipate” the president’s visit, which he called “a reminder of our institution’s enduring legacy and impact, as well as our continued commitment to excellence, progress and positive change.”

The Rev Stephen Green, pastor of the St Luke AME church in Harlem and an author of the alumni letter, said in an interview that his group had reached out to several Morehouse trustees and hoped to speak with Thomas. Green, who graduated in 2014, called the effort part of a “common thread of protest and activism in the Morehouse tradition” of social and political engagement.

“We hope this would send a strong message that we are serious about the values we were taught,” Green said, adding that he wants to see Biden forcefully advocate for a Palestinian state and an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Beyond any dissatisfaction over Israel, polling suggests Biden may have work to do with Black Americans generally. More than half of Black adults approve of how he is handling his job as president, according to an AP-NORC poll conducted in March, but that is down significantly from when he took office and 94% approved of his performance.

Biden has increasingly encountered protests this year from progressives who assert that he is too supportive of Israel. The issue has proven vexing for the president. He has long joined the US foreign policy establishment in embracing Israel as an indispensable Middle East ally. Yet he also has criticized the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for mounting civilian deaths in Gaza and told him that future US aid depends on Israel taking steps to protect civilians.

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HBCU track star wins 100 and 200 at NCAA first round regionals East




Alabama State’s Jamarion Stubbs won the 100 meters and 200 meters at the 2024 NCAA DI outdoor track and field first round east meet.

We’ve got some electrifying news from the track! Alabama State’s very own Jamarion Stubbs blazed his way to victory at the 2024 NCAA DI Outdoor Track and Field First Round East Meet, clinching gold in both the 100 meters and 200 meters events!

With lightning speed and unwavering determination, Jamarion left his competitors in the dust, crossing the finish line with a burst of energy that had the crowd on their feet! 💨

This remarkable double victory not only showcases Jamarion’s incredible talent and dedication but also solidifies his status as a force to be reckoned with in the world of track and field!

Let’s give a thunderous round of applause to Jamarion Stubbs for his outstanding performance, bringing glory to Alabama State and inspiring athletes everywhere to reach for their dreams with passion and perseverance!  #GoJamarion  #TrackStar #NCAAChampion 🏃‍♂️🏅

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Alumni Spotlight

Alabama State University Forges Historic Partnership with Neuberger Berman for $125 Million Endowment




Alabama State University (ASU) is making waves in the realm of higher education with a monumental partnership that is set to redefine the landscape of financial support for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). In a historic move, ASU has joined forces with the renowned private equity firm Neuberger Berman to manage the institution’s impressive $125 million endowment – marking the largest such collaboration between a Wall Street firm and a public HBCU to date.

This groundbreaking partnership represents far more than just a financial transaction; it signifies a powerful alignment of values, vision, and commitment to advancing education and opportunity for students of all backgrounds. For ASU President Quinton T. Ross, Jr., the collaboration with Neuberger Berman is nothing short of a “blessing” and a testament to the transformative impact it promises to bring to ASU and its community.

Through this partnership, ASU gains access to the expertise, resources, and global network of Neuberger Berman, empowering the institution to maximize the impact of its endowment in support of its mission of academic excellence and student success. With a focus on strategic investment and prudent financial management, ASU aims to leverage this partnership to enhance scholarship opportunities, faculty development initiatives, and campus infrastructure projects.

President Ross expressed his deep appreciation for the overwhelmingly positive impact of the partnership, highlighting the immense potential it holds for the future of ASU and its students. He emphasized that the collaboration with Neuberger Berman reflects ASU’s unwavering commitment to providing world-class educational experiences and opportunities for its diverse student body.

The significance of this partnership extends far beyond the confines of ASU’s campus, resonating throughout the broader HBCU community and beyond. By forging new pathways for collaboration between academia and the financial sector, ASU and Neuberger Berman are paving the way for increased investment in HBCUs and fostering greater equity and inclusion in higher education.

As ASU embarks on this exciting new chapter in its storied history, the university remains dedicated to its core values of excellence, integrity, and innovation. With the support of Neuberger Berman and the collective efforts of its faculty, staff, students, and alumni, ASU is poised to continue making a profound impact on the lives of individuals and communities alike.

In the journey toward a brighter, more equitable future for higher education, partnerships like the one between Alabama State University and Neuberger Berman serve as beacons of hope and inspiration. Together, they are demonstrating the power of collaboration, innovation, and shared purpose in driving positive change and unlocking new opportunities for generations to come.

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Florida A&M Receives Record $237 Million Gift During Commencement




Florida A&M University has received a $237.75 million gift from the Issac Batterson 7th Family Trust and Gregory Gerami, the founder and CEO of Batterson Farms Corp, a Texas-based industrial hemp business.

The gift, the largest in Florida A&M’s 136-year history, was presented to FAMU President Larry Robinson at one of the university’s commencement ceremonies on May 4. You can watch the moment the gift was made here.

FAMU said it will use the gift to support various academic initiatives, student success programs and its athletics program. It is almost double the size of the university’s current endowment of $121 million.

With an enrollment of about 10,000 students, Florida A&M, located in Tallahassee, Florida, is one of the nation’s leading Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The new gift would appear to also be the largest donation ever made to an HBCU, eclipsing the prior record established in January when Spelman College announced receiving a $100 million gift.

“This gift is breathtaking in its generosity and its scope,” said Robinson in a news release. “It changes the narrative about what is possible for FAMU. I cannot thank Gregory Gerami and the Issac Batterson 7th Family Trust enough. Their names are now etched into the annals of Florida A&M University in perpetuity.”

According to the university, Gerami reached out to FAMU officials last fall to discuss the possibility of making a sizable donation. Gerami believed that FAMU’s mission and research capabilities, especially in the area of hemp production, were strongly aligned with his own company’s emphasis and direction.

“FAMU has become like a family to our Trust, our company and to me. Our morals and our mission are in line with FAMU and FAMU’s mission,” said Gerami, in the press release. He emphasized his commitment to the university’s sustainability and growth. “It’s also about making sure that we set FAMU on the path to being the top HBCU in this country.”

Gregory Gerami achieved his business success despite a childhood of adversity, including being born with opiate addiction. After starting a small lawn care business, he eventually branched out and founded the Batterson Farms Corp, a hydroponic farming and hemp plastic company, in 2021.

In recognition of Gerami’s history of physical and health challenges, which are detailed in a biography on the Batterson Farms website, Florida A&M will use a portion of his gift to enhance its Center for Disability Access and Resources, which serves about 700 students. Center director Deborah Sullivan said the donation would increase the center’s ability to offer more programs and services on campus.

“The impact is just tremendous because we are not a department that often gets gifts like this. Alumni tend to give to their school or to athletics, but the Office of Disability Services doesn’t necessarily get recognized with monetary gifts like this and, especially, this magnitude,” said Sullivan.

As expected, some individuals in the public are and will continue researching Mr. Gerami. Please know that FAMU has done its due diligence when it comes to this matter. Additionally, Mr. Gerami has and continues to do his own due diligence on things that have been and are happening at FAMU.

While a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) we signed prevents us from disclosing many details, as was reported on May 4 – Mr. Gerami transferred $237,750,000 worth of stocks into our account last month. Mr. Gerami’s $237,750,000 stock transfer was received in the same manner in which we have accepted all other stocks donated to the University through the FAMU Foundation Inc. As with any non-cash gift received, such as cryptocurrency, real estate, and stocks, it will be converted to cash and recorded appropriately.

Gerami is quoted in the May 7 Tallahassee Democrat as saying, “The stocks have been held by the university for over a month now, so I don’t know where the confusion or the skepticism would be since it’s already in a financial account with the university.”

But the doubts still linger even within the FAMU community. On May 7, in a highly unusual move, Deveron Gibbons, the vice chair of FAMU’s Board of Trustees, called for a public “emergency meeting” of the board so it could give more scrutiny to the gift, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. “A donation of this nature requires the highest degree of transparency and inquiry, and to this point that has not occurred,” Gibbons is reported to have said in a statement.



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Four-Time SWAC Coach of the Year Tomekia Reed Named Charlotte’s Ninth Women’s Basketball Head Coach




CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Tomekia Reed has been named the ninth head women’s basketball coach for the Charlotte 49ers, Mike Hill, Director of Athletics, announced on Thursday, April 25. Reed, a three-time HBCU National Coach of the Year, comes to Charlotte following a highly successful six-year stint as head coach of the Jackson State Tigers.

“Tomekia Reed is a proven winner whose passion for developing young people through the game of basketball is inspiring,” said Hill. “Her enthusiasm is contagious and will translate into even more success for her on the recruiting trail and in the community. She shares our vision for greatness, and we are ecstatic to have her lead our program!”

Reed took the program to new heights by winning five consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) regular season titles and three SWAC tournament titles, including back-to-back championships in 2021 and 2022.

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber said: “Tomekia Reed is one of the most talented young coaches in college basketball today. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to excellence, both on and off the court. We are delighted to welcome Tomekia to Niner Nation.”

In making the program’s second straight appearance in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, and the first as a #14 seed, JSU led in the fourth quarter in nearly achieving a historic tournament win over #3 LSU. JSU made its return to the NCAA Tournament as a #14 seed again to face #3 UConn in 2024, where Reed won the respect of hall of fame coach Geno Auriemma.

Reed is a four-time SWAC Coach of The Year (2020, 2022, 2023, 2024). The 2020 championship was the first regular season crown for JSU since 2008, and the 2021 tournament championship earned the first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008.

“The Gold Standard: What a powerful slogan for a university on the rise,” said Reed. “I could not be more thrilled to become a Niner. I am inspired and excited to continue the standard of excellence that is this women’s basketball program. Mike, Ragean Hill, Chancellor Gaber, and the entire athletic department family made me feel welcome. Their enthusiasm and competitiveness is contagious. This leadership’s strategic comprehensive plan aligns with my standards and plans for sustained success at the highest level. I am more motivated than ever to capitalize on the opportunity at hand in leading a winning team for both our student-athletes and the great city of Charlotte. It is a great day to be a Niner!”

This year’s mark of 26 wins set a school record, including a historic 18-0 record in SWAC play. JSU won 21 consecutive games in the calendar year 2022, the longest streak in the nation entering the NCAA Tournament.

In April 2022, Ameshya Williams-Holliday was taken with the 25th overall pick in the WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever to become the first JSU player – and first from an HBCU – selected in the WNBA Draft. Angel Jackson, selected by the Las Vegas Aces with the 36th overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, is the second JSU player drafted during Reed’s tenure.

Reed began her collegiate playing career at Southern Miss, helping lead the program to a WNIT appearance before transferring to Hinds Community College for the 2000-01 season. At Hinds, Reed led the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) in rebounds per game and was second in the conference in scoring. She was chosen as an All-State first team selection. She earned an associate degree in sports medicine from Hinds in 2001 and a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Georgia Southwestern in 2003.

As a head coach, Reed holds an overall record 125-54 including a 95-10 conference record, coming off three consecutive 20+ win seasons. Her JSU team has the fourth highest conference winning percentage over the last five seasons at 95.4%.
Her coaching career began in 2006 as JSU’s recruiting coordinator, serving in that role until 2009 before taking the same position for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. From 2010 until 2015, Reed had recruiting coordinator stops at Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Tech, and New Orleans. Her first head coaching opportunity came in 2015 at her alma mater, Hinds CC.

Charlotte women’s basketball is coming off their first season competing in the American Athletic Conference. The Niners won nine AAC games on their way to earning the sixth seed in the conference tournament.

An introductory press conference will be scheduled for Monday April 29 in the student-athlete lounge in Halton Arena at 2:00p.m.

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Tragedy Hits Delaware State University Campus




The Dover Police Department, in collaboration with the Delaware State University Police Department, is investigating a shooting that resulted in the death of a 18-year-old female, of Wilmington. The investigation began at approximately 1:40 a.m. Sunday morning, when DSU Police received a call for shots fired on campus, in the area Warren-Franklin Hall. Officers responded and located the victim, an 18-year-old female of Wilmington, who had sustained a gun shot wound to her upper body. Officers rendered aid to the victim and she was transported to Bayhealth Kent Campus for treatment. Tragically, the 18-year-old died at the hospital as a result of her injuries. The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of her family. She was not a registered student of the University. No other injuries were reported. At this time, no suspect description is available.

Delaware State University provided the following statement.

“The DSU Police Department and staff will continue to take all necessary actions to ensure the health and well-being of our campus community.  Counseling services are available in the Tubman Laws Hall housing office.  The campus is closed today, events have been cancelled, and police patrols have been increased.  No visitation will be permitted today.”

This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Dover Police Department at (302)736-7130. Callers may remain anonymous. Tips may also be submitted to law enforcement through Delaware Crime Stoppers at 800-TIP-3333 or online at; a cash reward is possible for information leading to an arrest.

If you or someone you know is a victim or witness of a crime or have lost a loved one to a sudden death and are in need of assistance, the Dover Police Victim Services Unit is available to provide help and guidance. You can contact the Victim Services Unit at 302-736-7134 or by email at:

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