FACT CHECK: What Was President Biden’s Role At The University Of Pennsylvania?

Joseph Casieri | Fact Check Reporter

President Joe Biden claimed in a speech Sept. 14 that he taught political theory at the University of Pennsylvania for four years.

Verdict: Misleading

Biden served as Benjamin Franklin Presidential Professor of Practice, but did not teach political theory classes at the university.

Fact Check:

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy confirmed recently that the House will eventually subpoena Hunter Biden as part of the impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden, USA Today reported. The House Oversight and Accountability Committee will be holding its first hearing on the inquiry Sept. 28 with plans to subpoena Hunter Biden’s bank records, according to The Hill.

Biden appeared at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland Sept. 14 to deliver prepared remarks on the economy and touting his economic record. During the speech, he remarked that he taught classes on political theory while tenured at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I taught at the University of Pennsylvania for four years. I used to teach political theory,” Biden remarked. “And, folks, you always hear every generation has to fight for democracy. And I find myself – it’s automatic.”

The President did serve as a fellow and a “Professor of Practice” at the university, but did not teach classes at the university. Biden was a “Benjamin Franklin Presidential Professor of Practice” and Senior Fellow between 2017 and 2021, according to the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy at the university.

“As Presidential Practice Professor, Biden held joint appointments in the Annenberg School for Communication and the School of Arts and Sciences, with a secondary affiliation in the Wharton School,” the page description reads.

The Daily Pennsylvanian, an independent student media organization, elaborated in an April 2020 article that the position was more of lecturing and speeches rather than teaching regular classes.

“Although he is not a Penn alumnus and has never taught a formal class, the former Vice President has strong ties to the University,” the article reads in part.

Other outlets including the New York Post and Newsweek indicate that Biden’s professorship positions was honorary and that he did not teach classes. Snopes reported on Biden’s role at the University in 2022 saying that he held a vaguely defined role and gave some lectures at the school.

Biden received approximately over $900,000 for his role at the University, according to the The Philadelphia Inquirer. The report references a February 2019 article from The Daily Pennsylvanian, tallying nine public appearances during his tenure, but does not make any reference to him teaching any classes.

Biden has spoken at events at the school where he discussed policies enacted during the Obama Administration and compared them to the then-President Donald Trump’s policies. (Related: Did Kevin McCarthy Make ‘Several Unproven Claims’ In His Impeachment Inquiry Announcement?)

Check Your Fact contacted the White House and the University of Pennsylvania for clarification on his actual position. We will update this piece if a response is provided.

Joseph Casieri

Fact Check Reporter