All Day, Bethune-Cookman University, Betsy DeVos, Daily Dose -

Betsy DeVos’ commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University did not go well Protests and boos mar secretary of education’s HBCU appearance

All Day, Bethune-Cookman University, Betsy DeVos, Daily Dose -

Betsy DeVos’ commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University did not go well Protests and boos mar secretary of education’s HBCU appearance

When it was first announced that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would be speaking at Bethune-Cookman University’s commencement, many jaws dropped. What on earth would an uber-rich white woman who admittedly had never had any interaction with student loans on any level be able to teach a group of upwardly mobile students at an HBCU? It’s a fair question.

To review, she botched her praise of historically black institutions out of the gate, when she called them pioneers of school choice. As if, you know, black folks chose on their own to segregate major universities. That gaffe aside, there’s also the matter of what President Donald Trump did. After claiming to pledge his undenying support to HBCUs, he then publicly questioned their funding channels. In short, little respect has been shown.

So when it finally went down on Wednesday, things did not go well. Edison O. Jackson, the university’s president, basically wanted to give this woman a chance and perhaps, in the meantime, get some shine too. What he ended up with was an embarrassing mess for the more-than-a-century-old school in Daytona Beach, Florida.

See for yourself.

It’s also worth noting that things got VERY petty between school brass and students. After putting together a petition to try to prevent the speech from happening, the school’s official Twitter page tweeted this out. The shade is very real.

https://twitter.com/MoreAndAgain/status/862358530917105668

What makes this particularly unfortunate is not DeVos herself. It’s about the fact that graduation ceremonies are in large part exactly that: ceremonial. Any attempt to make it about anyone other than the students who’ve worked so hard to be in position to say they earned a degree is a selfish one. If the idea was “All press is good press” then sure, you’ve achieved your goal.

But for all the parents, friends and family members who made trips to see their loved ones finally walk across that stage, Jackson basically ruined their special day. He knew full well this was going to be ugly, and he apparently didn’t care. It doesn’t even matter what she had to say. The president ruined commencement for his students, a day on which people are supposed to learn life lessons going forward. Or, in school terms: He failed.

You can watch it all here.

[protected-iframe id=”8ce618cf01069e53110c7a3c2d9c9d27-84028368-105107678″ info=”https://www.ustream.tv/embed/21784368?html5ui” width=”480″ height=”270″ frameborder=”0″ style=”border: 0 none transparent;” scrolling=”no” webkitallowfullscreen=”” allowfullscreen=””]

Or, check this thread from The Chronicle’s Adam Harris.


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