Twitter users flooded timelines yesterday (May 10) with praise for the many new graduates of Bethune-Cookman University who reacted to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' commencement speech with boos and turned backs.
Students at the historically black university have for weeks protested DeVos' scheduled appearance, including garnering thousands of signatures on a petition to replace her as graduation speaker.
"One of the hallmarks of higher education and of democracy is the ability to converse with from those with whom we disagree", Secretary DeVos said.
Alumnus Dominik Whitehead circulated a petition, with more than 8,500 signees as of press time, demanding university president Dr. Edison Jackson cancel DeVos' speech.
"If this behavior continues, your degrees will be mailed to you", he warned.
Order for the most part was restored, although at least one man was escorted out by security. 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".
But ask pretty much any person of color and they'll tell you - only whites can be racist.
President Donald Trump's nomination of DeVos, a Republican fundraiser with no classroom experience, was so controversial that Vice President Mike Pence had to cast a tie-breaking vote for her Senate confirmation.
Secretary DeVos has been under firing since calling historically black colleges "pioneers" of school choice. "Never forget that. Through serving others, you can extend that legacy". I want to reaffirm this administration's commitment to and support for (historically black colleges and universities) and the students they serve. CNN reports that graduates booed as Jackson presented DeVos with an honorary degree.
"We are all about the business of making new friends", Jackson said at a pre-commencement news conference. Dozens of activists lined a sidewalk early Wednesday; their signs included "DeVos is not worthy".
Betsy DeVos took the stage as a billionaire, who was totally out of touch with the people that she was addressing.
Tyler Durrant, a graduating senior, said that the university should not have sent a graduating class out that way.
"And while we will undoubtedly disagree at times, I hope we can do so respectfully", she said.