DeVos booed delivering Bethune-Cookman address

Betsy DeVos spoke through waves of boos and shouted protests during her commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University on Wednesday, delivering a celebratory address with what seemed at times to be grim-faced resolve. As many critics were quick to point out, historically black colleges and universities arose after prospective black students were denied admission to white institutions as a result of state-sanctioned segregation.

DeVos' was heckled throughout her speech with students booing and chanting in protest.

But despite the opposition, Jackson has refused to rescind DeVos' invitation. The comment is a response to the Florida NAACP's claims that students and faculty are being threatened if they complain about the upcoming visit of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. "Secretary DeVos has no understanding of the importance, contributions, and significance of HBCUs", it continued. The announcement of her selection was made just one week ago, leaving students shocked and scrambling to launch a petition to remove her as speaker, but it was unsuccessful.

Looking to Advertise? Contact the Crusader for more information. University president President Edison Jackson refused, and called the Secretary "passionate about education" during a radio interview on Tuesday.

Students were upset by the choice of DeVos, said Petra Merrick, a graduating senior who was editor of the college newspaper for the past two years.

Jackson mentioned various leaders to whom Bethune turned as she sought support for the school. Jackson called for the boos to stop, saying, "You don't know her".

Whitehead, the petition organizer, said the school's founder "would not be pleased with (DeVos) being the commencement speaker" and would've demanded that the education chief have a real conversation with pupils - about public education, charter schools and other issues - before allowing her to address the student body.

"We have always been in the business of making friends, and if you don't have friends, it's very hard to raise money", Jackson said during a news conference before the ceremony.

According the WaPo, students objected to being used as a "photo-op" for the Trump administration.

She said there are many great cell phone companies, but people have the option to pick which one they want to use. Despite the boos, there were also bouts of applause when DeVos commended the students and their families.

Betsy DeVos got herself an education today.

In a statement Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) promised to keep fighting to expand black students' access to higher education and ensure equity in K-12 education for communities of color despite what the Trump administration does. "We are here for them".

The newly sworn-in Secretary, who has no previous educational experience, went on to discuss her respect for the University's founder, Mary McLeod Bethune.


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