University students boo US Education Secretary at commencement

DeVos Commencement Speech Draws Protests

DeVos Commencement Speech Draws Protests

DeVos addressed comments that, because she comes from a wealthy family, she does not understand the plight of low-income families. After a storm of criticism, she acknowledged that these colleges were "born, not out of mere choice, but out of necessity, in the face of racism".

I guess maybe the lesson here is don't give a rich white woman an honorary doctorate to a historically black university when her biggest achievement is donating to the Republican Party.

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

DeVos has spent the last few weeks touring schools across America and as recently as Sunday she expressed support for historically black colleges and universities.

"I'm a student, I'm about to be a junior at Bethune-Cookman", said Bobby Luke.

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She implied that HBCUs and school vouchers, of which DeVos is a fierce supporter, similarly afforded students better options.

Students reportedly planned to protest the day's proceedings and delivered over 50,000 signatures to Bethune administrator's offices.

Jackson defended the university's decision to host DeVos in a statement, saying: "If our students are robbed of the opportunity to experience and interact with views that may be different from their own, then they will be tremendously less equipped for the demands of democratic citizenship". By far the loudest condemnation came when DeVos said she planned to visit the home and gravesite of BCU founder Mary McLeod Bethune. She told graduates she wanted to "reaffirm this administration's commitment to and support for" HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) "and the students they serve". The university, however, refused proposals to disinvite DeVos. Is there more DeVos can do to win the support of HBCUs? University president Edison O. Jackson tried to calm the protesters down, threatening to withhold their degrees and instead send the certificates in the mail, but the backlash continued, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

CORRECTS SPELLING OF FIRST NAME TO BETSY, NOT BESTY - United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivers a commencement speech to graduates at Bethune-Cookman University, Wednesday, May 10, 2017, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Given the amount of opposition to the idea of DeVos as keynote speaker, it'd become apparent by Tuesday that some form of protest would be likely.

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