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Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Will Be the Commencement Speaker at This HBCU

This is the time of year where college seniors are preparing to graduate and universities are announcing their plans for commencement. The biggest announcement is who will be the commencement speaker.

At one historically Black college, their commencement is not exactly a popular choice. Bethune-Cookman University, which is located in Daytona Beach, Fl. and founded by Mary McLeod Bethune, will have Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as commencement speaker for the class of 2017.

As you can imagine, there is backlash. Secretary DeVos is known to not be the most qualified person for her current position. This is the same woman who said HBCUs came about due to “school choice,” when it was really because predominately White universities were not admitting Black students.

Under Secretary DeVos’ lead, the Department of Education spelled W.E.B. Du Bois’ name wrong in a tweet. Then, in a follow-up tweet apologizing, they said, “Post updated-our deepest apologizes for the earlier typo.-U.S. Dept. of Education.”

Yeah, that happened.

The President of Bethune-Cookman defended the school’s choice, saying, “much like Dr. Bethune, founder of Bethune-Cookman University, Secretary DeVos deems the importance of opportunity and hope for students to receive an exceptional educational experience.”

The school also told students, “BC-U receives $4 million annually through Title III,” a Department of Education program started by Lyndon Johnson’s Congress, and that “the legacy of Dr. Bethune is that she was not constrained by political ideology.”

Not only has this decision not gone over well with current students, but alumni as well. An alum started a petition asking for DeVos to be removed as the university’s commencement speaker.

We wonder if Secretary DeVos will receive a warm reception from the crowd when she’s introduced to speak.