Bethune Cookman Students Boo Betsy DeVos
Bethune Cookman Turns It’s Back On DeVos

Bethune Cookman students boo Betsy DeVos. Besty DeVos the secreatary of education was invited to speak at the graduation ceremony for Bethune-Cookman University last week.

Betsy DeVos visited Bethune-Cookman University last Wednesday, knowing her first commencement address as secretary of education could get ugly at the historically black institute of higher education.

It did and fast. Over sporadic heckling, and at some points to the backs of gown-clad graduates refusing to face her, Ms. DeVos implored: “One of the hallmarks of higher education, and of democracy, is the ability to converse with and learn from those with whom we disagree. And while we will undoubtedly disagree at times, I hope we can do so respectfully. Let’s choose to hear each other out.”

Betsy DeVos isn’t an educator or an education leader. She’s not an expert in pedagogy or curriculum or school governance. In fact, she has no relevant credentials or experience for a job setting standards and guiding dollars for the nation’s public schools. – The Washington Post.

While being met with jeers and boos students from the graduating class of 2017 of Bethune-Cookman turned their backs on their unwanted commencement speaker Betsy DeVos.  DeVos sensed their discontent and told the crowd, “While we will undoubtedly disagree at times, I hope we can do so respectfully. Let’s choose to hear one another out. I want to reaffirm this administration’s commitment to and support for (historically black colleges and universities) and the students they serve.”

At that point, the commencement became so rowdy that school President Edison Jackson interrupted DeVos’ remarks to issue a warning to graduates. “If this behavior continues, your degrees will be mailed to you,” he said. “Choose which way you want to go.”

Earlier some students petitioned their disaatisfaction in the university choosing Betsy DeVos’ address because of her now-recanted statement that founders of historically black colleges and universities were “real pioneers” of school choice. HBCUs were founded during segregation, when black students were barred from attending white colleges in the South and beyond.

Bethune Cookman Students Boo Betsy DeVos, this action was not only one of defiance. This action displayed Bethune Cookman’s students choosing the correct side of history. Even though students made it very aware that they did not support DeVos delivering the commencement address DeVos was still invited. Prior to DeVos arriving at Bethune- Cookman the petitions gathered around 60,000 signatures that were delivered to school officials on Tuesday.

Before the ceremony, Jackson wrote a letter to the campus community defending the university’s invitation. “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,” Jackson wrote.

Some have compared President Jackson’s move as sleeping with the devil. As an HBCU graduate, one wonders how President Edison Jackson will repair this torn relationship with the Bethune-Cookman students. Jackson seems to have damaged the relationship of his family, Bethune-Cookman’s student for a moment in the spotlight.


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