We should’ve expected to see a wave of anti-Trump protests at college graduations this year, but not this bad.
On Wednesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has a cold reception when she attempted to deliver the commencement address at the historically black university. The graduating class turned their backs on DeVos while many others booed and heckled.
It got so bad that University President Edison Jackson had to warn the students that he would shut the entire ceremony down and mail the graduates their diplomas.
“Choose which way you want to go,” Jackson said, who was previously asked to resign by the NAACP for inviting the Education Secretary.
DeVos, who’s been a strong advocate for school choice, doubled down the Trump administration’s commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) through a February executive order.
“I am at the table fighting on your behalf,” DeVos said while stressing the important of historically black schools and year-round Pell grants for low-income families.
The audience cried “No!” when DeVos mentioned that she planned to visit the home and gravesite of the school’s founder and civil rights activist Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.
“Dr. Bethune believed students – you – had an unlimited potential to affect positive change, and with good reason. She’d done it herself,” DeVos continued.
This excerpt from her speech, however, addressed her critics in the room head-on:
“As you leave, each of you will be called to embody courage in different ways and to rise to different challenges. The way you answer those calls will determine not just the future of you and your homes, but of your communities, this great nation and your world.
The natural instinct is to join in the chorus of conflict, to make your voice louder, your point bigger and your position stronger. But we will not solve the significant and real problems our country faces if we cannot bring ourselves to embrace a mindset of grace. We must first listen, then speak – with humility – to genuinely hear the perspectives of those with whom we don’t immediately or instinctively agree.”
So, congratulations to the Bethune Cookman University Class of 2017. You both literally and figuratively have no class!
Watch the Bethune Cookman graduating class stand up and turn their backs on DeVos.
Bethune Cookman class of 2017 turned their backs on Betsy DeVos & I'm here for it pic.twitter.com/CsZumS10aR— 6'7 Igwe (@SheWantsTheVic) May 10, 2017