Tags: US | Education | Secretary | Black | College

Despite Protests, DeVos Delivering Bethune-Cookman Address

Image: Despite Protests, DeVos Delivering Bethune-Cookman Address
(Reuters)

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 01:48 PM

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos arrived Wednesday to deliver the commencement address at historically black Bethune-Cookman University, despite protests by students and alumni.

DeVos, a billionaire without education experience, offended many African-Americans in February when she said historically black colleges are the "real pioneers when it comes to school choice." After a storm of criticism, she acknowledged that these colleges were "born, not out of mere choice, but out of necessity, in the face of racism."

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

Some alumni and the local NAACP leader called for the BCU President Edison Jackson to rescind the invitation as insensitive and misguided. Students presented Jackson with signed petitions Tuesday demanding she not be allowed to speak. Dozens of activists lined a sidewalk early Wednesday; their signs included "DeVos is not worthy."

Jackson, however, has argued that inviting DeVos is an important gesture for finding common ground.

"We are all about the business of making new friends," Jackson said at a pre-commencement news conference. "If you don't have friends, it's very difficult to raise money."

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos arrived Wednesday to deliver the commencement address at historically black Bethune-Cookman University, despite protests by students and alumni.
US, Education, Secretary, Black, College
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2017-48-10
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 01:48 PM
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