Protesters gathered at Bethune-Cookman University in Florida today before Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave the keynote address at the historically black school’s commencement this afternoon.
Omarosa Manigault, an advisor to President Trump, also attended the commencement. When university President Edison Jackson introduced her, the boo's rained down mercilessly. Jackson stopped, then said, “You don’t know her, you don’t know her story.”
On Tuesday, protesters delivered petitions signed by thousands of people demanding that university leaders drop plans to have DeVos speak.
That proved futile, as DeVos did indeed speak. But the reception she received was less than cordial.
Here is video of Betsy DeVos getting booed at the commencement.pic.twitter.com/bnBbbutKuy— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeagueTSL) May 10, 2017
Jackson previously wrote in a letter to the campus community that a willingness to engage with varying viewpoints is a hallmark of higher education. “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,” he wrote. “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.”
Those in attendance today weren't trying to hear it, nor were they trying to hear anything DeVos had to say.