DeVos booed speaking at historically black university

DeVos booed speaking at historically black university

DeVos booed speaking at historically black university

Numerous graduating students turned their backs on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and boos almost drowned out her commencement speech Wednesday at Bethune-Cookman University.

At the commencement, shown in the video above, DeVos opens her speech by thanking the university for "this great honor and privilege".

DeVos later apologized for her remarks, stating that HBCUs were "born out of necessity" and "made higher education accessible to students who otherwise would have been denied the opportunity".

Historically black colleges - known as HBCUs - were founded because segregation prevented African-American students from receiving an education anywhere else.

But given her reception at the commencement address on Wednesday, DeVos may have a lot more work ahead of her to make amends.

DeVos carried on with her keynote address to the historically black university, praising its founder Mary McLeod Bethune as someone who "refused to accept systemic and repulsive racism", and had "the courage to change old ideas". Please know this: We support you, and we will continue to support you.

University President Edison Jackson in a statement, said "I am of the belief that it does not benefit our students to suppress voices that we disagree with".

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This is published unedited from the IANS feed. However, a group opposed to the visit said it had collected 60,000 signatures.

"Some of you may not like it, but she's here, we're welcoming her and we're building new relationships", Jackson said. The university, however, refused proposals to disinvite DeVos.

Jackson had to interrupt DeVos' speech to warn the graduates to calm down. The decision to have DeVos address the some-300 students graduating this spring came immediate under scrutiny. Critics say she is also ignoring the fact that charter or religion-based schools may not provide an equal quality of education.

Jackson, the university president, defended the invitation, saying it benefits students to hear from those with controversial ideals and differing beliefs. In other words, they weren't providing better options - they were the only options for black students.

"We are all here to applaud your perseverance and to encourage each of you to keep working to reach your full potential", a visibly rattled DeVos told the crowd.

The administration invited DeVos to speak against the wishes of practically the entire student body, not to mention alumni.

"We must first listen, then speak, with humility to understand the perspectives of those with whom we disagree".

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