Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Booed During Commencement at HBCU

Posted May 19, 2017

US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been shunned by students during a speech at a university in Florida, as she struggles to gain popularity after narrowly escaping Congress' confirmation process.

The protests gradually subsided with DeVos finishing her speech and requesting a call for understanding from the graduating students.

When it came time for DeVos to speak, about half of the 380 graduates stood and turned their backs on her, according to the Post.

"With the recent comments of President Trump suggesting federal funding for HBCUs is unconstitutional, this validates our view of a frightful 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.

Bethune-Cookman University president Edison Jackson, left, and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos applaud students as they are introduced during commencement exercises, Wednesday, May 10, 2017, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

DeVos addressed comments that, because she comes from a wealthy family, she does not understand the plight of low-income families. "Please know this, we support you and we will continue to support you", she continued.

Outside the event, some students and alumni gathered to protest against DeVos. "Let's choose to hear each other out", DeVos said in a clip shared online.

But despite overwhelming disapproval, others disagreed with the tone and approach, saying that DeVos deserves to be respected regardless of how much people disagree with her.

The B-CU petition also objects to DeVos's recent withdrawal of protections the Obama administration put in place for students who have mismanaged or are defaulting on their student loans.

DeVos has continued since then to cite historically black colleges as alternative options for quality education, her stated goal for promoting the diversion of tax money to private and charter schools.

Peaceful protests against DeVos' appearance began last week, with demonstrators holding placards that read "DeVos No" and "Our tax $s pay for public education".

But those schools were founded out of necessity; they were the only choice for students of color before integration.

"As a fellow community leader, who is responsible for presiding over the legacy of such an historic and treasured institution, we deem your decision reckless, irresponsible and in direct conflict with the legacy of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune".