Daytona Beach, FL (PPN) – Students, staff and alumni’s at a HBCU planned a protest to stop Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as commencement speaker at Bethune-Cookman University.
The group marched from the New Mt. Zion Church to the campus’ White Hall urging people to have DeVos removed as the speaker.
In the petition, students stated, “Betsy DeVos doesn’t understand that HBCUs were created in response to the exclusion of African Americans from mainstream institutions. Secretary DeVos has no understanding of the importance, contributions, and significance of HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities). 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.”
The NAACP Florida State Conference president on Monday called for the resignation of two Bethune-Cookman University officials a week after the school invited DeVos to serve as its keynote commencement speaker, according to reports.
DeVos comments influenced this strike, calling historically black colleges and universities “real pioneers” of school choice. She later backtracked, saying that the schools weren’t established to give black students more choices, but because black students were forbidden from attending white schools because of racial segregation, reports say.
Students filled 6 boxes of signed petitions, totaling 60,000 in signed petitions.