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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos booed by graduating students during commencement address

May 10, 2017

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced boos on Wednesday while making her commencement address at historically black college Bethune-Cookman University (BCU) in Florida. The decision to invite DeVos came despite her previous comments labeling historically black colleges and universities “pioneers” of school choice — a remark that completely ignored the fact that such schools were founded because black students were forbidden from attending school with white students.

BCU President Edison O. Jackson had defended his decision to invite DeVos, claiming in an Orlando Sentinel Op-Ed that he felt students would benefit from her perspective. But tens of thousands of BCU students disagreed vehemently, signing petitions demanding that DeVos be disinvited — with some even calling for Jackson’s resignation.

“It’s a spit in the face,” said one BCU graduating senior. “Our graduation is the biggest day of our lives and it was sold out from under us because our school president has White House aspirations.”

At the commencement, boos began raining down on DeVos shortly after a school official noted in his introduction that she had been nominated to her position by President Trump. Cascades of boos also overshadowed the start of her speech, while she told students that they should try to “learn from those with whom we disagree.” As the displeasure from the crowd began to reach a fever pitch, Jackson interrupted DeVos to issue the students a warning.

“If this behavior continues your degrees will be mailed to you,” he said. “Choose which way you want to go.”

Watch video of the address below.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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