Betsy DeVos Delivers Commencement Speech To Bethune-Cookman

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As soon as she began her speech the boos began and numerous graduates, stood up and turned their backs.

Bethune-Cookman University had been on edge for days, with multiple petitions opposing DeVos' visit garnering thousands of signatures.

An Education Department staffer, speaking anonymously, told BuzzFeed that DeVos "remains committed to HBCUs" and "delivered a message based on the legacy of Bethune, which celebrates civil discourse - she welcomed students who were there to support her and those who opposed her".

Administrators at Bethune-Cookman thought that it would be a good idea to hire Betsy DeVos to serve as the school's 2017 commencement speaker.

DeVos's selection to speak at the commencement event was controversial.

DeVos' statement, he said, "just shows she is out of touch".

Many advocates of historically black colleges and universities were apoplectic after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called the group of schools forged at the height of racial segregation "pioneers" of "school choice".

"While we will undoubtedly disagree at times, I hope we can do so respectfully", she remarked. "Choose which way you want to go", he added before stepping back to let the graduates work it out.

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"With the recent comments of President Trump suggesting federal funding for HBCUs is unconstitutional, this validates our view of a terrible decision by the university inviting DeVos, who still has not pledged to drastically increase funding for all historically black colleges and universities", the NAACP said.

The president of the university, Dr. Edison O. Jackson, threatened to cut the proceedings short if the students kept booing the education secretary.

Bethune-Cookman traces its history to 1904 and is one of the oldest institutions among USA historically black colleges and universities - schools where African-American students make up a large proportion of the student body. "Please know this. We support you and will continue to support you", DeVos said.

"I think Betsy forgot her name was Betsy and not Mary McLeod Bethune", she said.

"It's important to understand people will disagree", Jackson said.

In a statement afterward, DeVos said she respected the attendees, "including those who demonstrated their disagreement with me".

A protester gets escorted out of the commencement ceremony during DeVos' speech Wednesday.

. Journalists covering the ceremony also reported that multiple graduates stood with their backs to DeVos throughout much of her speech.

At one point the objections from the crowd became so incessant that a school official interrupted DeVos's speech, chiding graduates that if they continued their behavior, their degrees would be mailed to them.

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