Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is set to be commencement speaker at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.
“The legacy of Dr. Bethune is that she was not constrained by political ideology, but worked across all parties to support B-CU,” President Edison O. Jackson said in a press release.
In February HBCU alum from Bethune-Cookman and other institutions were upset with DeVos’s statements claimin “school choice” why HBCUs were developed in the first place and not a response to segregation. Graduate Dominik Whitehead has started a petition to prevent DeVos from speaking at the May 10th commencement ceremony:
“Having DeVos speak at the commencement ceremony is an insult to the BCU graduating class, students, alumni, family, friends, and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s legacy. We, the proud alumni of Bethune-Cookman University, do not want Betsy DeVos to have a seat at our table. Please rescind her invitation to speak at the graduation ceremony.
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 sent out a tweet confirming their stance: