DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Despite protests, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke at the Bethune-Cookman University Commencement, and graduates weren’t having it.
DeVos’ speech was cut short after catcalls and boos erupted from the graduating class. The graduates ultimately stood and turned their backs on DeVos during graduation ceremony.
Students of Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black college in Daytona Beach, Fla., protested the choice to have DeVos as the commencement speaker for days.
Over 50,000 people had signed a graduate’s petition calling on the university to rescind its invitation to DeVos.
However the school’s president, Edison Jackson, was unmoved and DeVos spoke anyway.
Edison did offer a warning to students during the address saying, “If this behavior continues, your degrees will be mailed to you." The students ignored the threat with continued boos, and DeVos ultimately cut her speech short, very short.
DeVos has been criticized for saying that Historically Black Colleges and Universities are the “real pioneers when it comes to school choice”. HBCUs were started because African Americans weren’t allowed to attend white schools.
Material from USA Today and NBC was used in this report.