Boos drown out Betsy DeVos at Bethune Cookman commencement speech. pic.twitter.com/Fc3hPFDLKc— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) May 10, 2017
After Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was booed relentlessly during her commencement speech at a historically black college, we just have one question: What did she think was going to happen?
DeVos was slated to give outgoing remarks to the graduating students at Bethune-Cookman University about, ironically, the importance of education.
Alas, she didn’t get very far as the students rejected her presence by drowning her out with boos, some even calling for her to “Shut the f*** up,” USA Today reports.
"Betsy DeVos, I'ma let you finish but Barack had one of the best Education Secretaries of all time." -Bethune Grads pic.twitter.com/IISUAjKQJV— James Parkley (@jnarls) May 10, 2017
The jeers drowned her out from the moment she was introduced and throughout her 20-minute speech. It got so bad that the university president, Edison Jackson, had to stop DeVos mid-sentence to address the students with a warning: “If this behavior continues, we can mail the degrees to you.”
USA Today noted that at least one person was removed from the arena.
This controversial reaction to DeVos was expected, considering online petitions garnered nearly 60,000 signatures from people who objected to her speaking at the ceremony.
In addition to the student body being against her, protestors from the NAACP, Florida Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers showed up to the Daytona Beach convention center to protest the education secretary — who wants to privatize public education and once argued for guns being allowed in schools for protection from bears.
Jackson defended the university’s decision by boiling it down to money.
"We have always been in the business of making friends, and if you don't have friends, it's very difficult to raise money," Jackson said during a news conference before the ceremony. "Her department controls roughly 80 percent of Title IV monies, as well as grants. So why wouldn't we want to make friends?"
Oh, right. We forgot that money trumps integrity.
On the flip side of Jackson’s perspective, a representative from a Florida youth organization dedicated to bettering the lives of black communities called the Dream Defenders explained that DeVos’ plans will actually make the lives of Bethune-Cookman grads more difficult as she halted a valuable program established under President Barack Obama that helped students manage federal college loans.
"Betsy DeVos should not be speaking at an HBCU. Betsy DeVos should not be the speaker at any educational institution," said Rachel Gilmer, co-director of the Dream Defenders.
Yes, DeVos is the education secretary and, to a certain degree, Americans must come to terms with that. However, it was not the people’s choice to put her in the position she holds, just as it wasn’t our choice to put Trump in the White House. (Remember who won the popular vote?) Therefore, we'll resist her, just as we resist him.
Simply put: DeVos should have known better.
Thumbnail/Banner Credit: Reuters