Betsy DeVos booed during commencement speech at historically black university

But perhaps they were asking themselves if they failed in their goal of educating the next generation over the last four years or succeeded?

DeVos, a West Michigan native, initially drew ire from students and supporters from historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, throughout the country after she connected HBCUs to the school choice movement in February. One sign said "DeVos is not worthy".

There was no chance that was going to happen in 2017.

At one point, Jackson intervened, telling students: "If this behavior continues, your degrees will be mailed to you".

In a separate letter, the state's NAACP chapter called for the university's president and its chairman to resign in response to alleged threats to withhold degrees from students who protested DeVos.

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.

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

B-CU administrators said petitioners came in with boxes, but some of them were almost empty. The decision to have DeVos address the some-300 students graduating this spring came immediate under scrutiny.

According to CBS News, DeVos encountered a "constant streams of boos and chants" during a commencement address at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

"I'm so glad she's here", Harris said. "She's very transparent, she has a listening ear".

DeVos struck a conciliatory note several times in her speech Wednesday, telling students that the administration supports restoring year-round Pell grants and acknowledging the controversy surrounding her appearance.

Students stood and turned their backs to DeVos, an action that Politico reported drew applause from the crowd of friends and relatives. A commencement exercise is not a dialogue.

Students and alumni have reserved plenty of their angst for Jackson and other members of the school's leadership.

Kudos to DeVos for not backing out of the speech after the initial backlash.

Earlier in the week, 50,000 students sent a petition urging the Daytona Beach school's administrators to rescind the education secretary's invitation to speak.

Latest News