Bethune-Cookman University officials claimed on Thursday that only 20 students protested a commencement speech delivered by Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, according to a news release first reported by HBCU Digest. Witnesses who were there, including this reporter, saw more than half of the graduates stand and turn their backs in opposition as Ms. DeVos began her address on Wednesday.
“Secretary DeVos delivered the commencement address as 20 students expressed their freedom of protest during her speech,” the university said in the news release. University officials did not specify whether they were referring to graduates who refused to attend in protest.
A video posted to Twitter on Wednesday shows dozens of graduates protesting as Ms. DeVos speaks.
They stood up and turned their back against her. Betsy DeVos at Bethune Cookman University Graduation pic.twitter.com/iqi3lctrPg
— Issa Midget (@kaybetooshort) May 10, 2017
The university also said that 13 students out of 374 graduates “were escorted out of the ceremony for disruption.” University officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Chronicle.Return to Top