Bethune-Cookman University Invites Education Secretary Betsy DeVos To Speak At Graduation
According to the Washington post, Betsy DeVos will be saluting the 2017 Graduates of Bethune-Cookman University as their Commencement Keynote Speaker next week.
In a news release Monday, the university said: “Much like Dr. Bethune, Founder of Bethune-Cookman University, Secretary DeVos deems the importance of opportunity and hope for students to receive an exceptional education experience. Her mission to empower parents and students resonates with the history and legacy of Dr. Bethune.”
The release also noted the importance of funding from the Education Department and praised DeVos for her charitable contributions.
A spokesman for the Education Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
An online petition calling on the university to choose someone else had about 2,800 digital signatures midday Monday.
The petition argues that the Trump administration’s actions on lending make it more difficult for students to pay for college and pay down their debt and that DeVos does not have an understanding of the importance of historically black colleges: The petition has gained 2195 signatures with a goal of 7500. Click here to sign the petition.
We, the proud alumni of Bethune-Cookman University, understand the importance of engagement and open communication HBCUs must have with all levels of government; therefore instead of inviting Secretary DeVos to graduation, let’s welcome her to the table and have meaningful dialogue about stronger policies, the White House HBCU Initiative, and the importance and contributions of HBCUs.
Bethune-Cookman University doesn’t need a photo-op from the Trump Administration, we need action done by this administration for all HBCUs.
Please rescind her invitation to speak at the graduation ceremony.
Via The Washington Post
Here are some of the reactions from students and alumni:
— Catie Tappan (@TappIntoArt) May 2, 2017
I personally feel as thought graduating college is a special time, a time we’ll always remember. You’ve worked so hard for 4-5 years to lead up to graduation, the speakers remarks tend to stay with people as they enter the “Real World” and embark on a journey that may be bigger than themselves. The Keynote speaker should be genuine, encouraging and overall appeal to the graduates on their special day. I do not attend BCU but if I did I wouldn’t sit and listen to some who doesn’t understand why/how important Historically Black Colleges and Universities are.
— Chief Calhoun (@chiefcalhoun) May 2, 2017
— Ashley Nicole (@kougher) May 2, 2017
— SlayRondaa✨⚓️ (@ronda_michelle) May 1, 2017
— fredara (@fredaraMareva) May 1, 2017
How much money was #BCU promised to invite Ditzy DeVos to be their keynote speaker? You’re not fooling ANYONE.
— Out Rae Geous (@_TheOpinion) May 1, 2017
— Bethune-Cookman (@bethunecookman) May 1, 2017
— Queen Jasmine (@JazzoRenee) May 2, 2017
So an HBCU president thought it was a great idea that Betsy DeVos should speak at their graduation? pic.twitter.com/KutjLOJt9T
— Cookie Targaryen (@Cookiebaby23) May 2, 2017
What are your thoughts? What do you suggest the University does or what would you like to see happen?
Updates: On Tuesday, a group of protesters marched to the Daytona, Florida campus and delivered a petition that they said has 59,215 signatures to the university’s administration, urging officials to disinvite the controversial education secretary
Bethune-Cookman protest organizer Dominik Whitehead told NewsOne that the group presented the petition to an administration staff member, who told them that Bethune-Cookman President Dr. Edison O. Jackson was unavailable to meet with them.
Word From Bethune-Cookman President, Edison Jackson:
“I am of the belief that it does not benefit our students to suppress voices that we disagree with, or to limit students to only those perspectives that are broadly sanctioned by a specific community,” Edison O. Jackson, president of Bethune-Cookman University since 2013, wrote Wednesday in an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel.
“One of the lasting hallmarks of higher education is its willingness to engage, explore and experience that which we deem as ‘other,’” he continued. “When we shelter our students and campus communities from views that are diametrically opposed to their own, we actually leave our students far less capable of combating those ideas.”
“If our students are robbed of the opportunity to experience and interact with views that may be different from their own, then they will be tremendously less equipped for the demands of democratic citizenship,”
“These leaders represented diverse political and social views, and Bethune invited them all to visit and support her institution. It is in that same vein that I have invited DeVos to speak,” he wrote. “I have gratitude for the past, and hope for the future. So I ask the courtesy of your consideration to hear what Betsy DeVos , the 11th U.S. secretary of education, tells us.
“Remember that dialogue is a two-way street,” he concluded.
What took place at graduation:
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
DeVos quotes scripture: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders.. Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt..” pic.twitter.com/nTAc4Uz5sj
— NBC BLK (@NBCBLK) May 10, 2017
Je'Kia Willis40 Posts
23, Blogger & Athletic Trainer with a passion to help heal others through various forms.