Betsy DeVos Was Booed During A Speech At A Historically Black College

Photo: Evan Vucci/AP Images.
Graduation day is usually characterized by joyful cheers and sighs of relief, but college grads at Bethune-Cookman University in Florida were singing a different tune Wednesday.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was booed while giving a commencement speech at the historically Black school. The boos began before she even started speaking, and some students turned their backs to the stage in protest. University President Edison O. Jackson tried to quiet the chaos by warning the graduating students that he'd cancel the ceremony all together.
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He told the crowd, "Your degrees will be mailed to you. Choose which way you want to go." One man was escorted out by security, according to Politico.
"Let's choose to hear each other out," DeVos said. "We can choose to listen, be respectful and continue to learn from each other's experience."
The education secretary and President Jackson shouldn't have been totally surprised by the anarchy, since current and former students called for DeVos' commencement address and honorary degree to be canceled.
DeVos has a history of defunding public schools in Michigan and now wants to cut the U.S. Department of Education’s budget by 13%, putting a small percentage of that money toward private school vouchers that act as scholarships to help kids to go to their school of choice. Ignoring the fact that studies on the effects of vouchers have mixed results, the proposed budget would strip money from public schools. She also called historically Black universities like Bethune-Cookman "pioneers" of school choice earlier this year, saying, "They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality."
One alumni wrote in an open letter to the school published in the local Daytona Times, "DeVos’ ideology and advocacy are especially harmful to students of color — the very students
Bethune-Cookman and other HBCUs were created to serve," adding, "and the budget proposed by President Trump and Betsy DeVos would slash billions of dollars in federal funding for programs that help students of color reach, attend and graduate from college."
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DeVos tried to be positive in her speech, asking all the parents of graduates to stand for applause and saying, "I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak with you, and particularly with those who have disagreed with the invitation for me to be here."
Nevertheless, her first college commencement speech as part of the Trump administration didn't go great.
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