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Students Boo, Turn Their Backs on DeVos at Bethune-Cookman Speech

Betsy DeVos, the U.S. education secretary, drew loud boos on Wednesday from attendees at Bethune-Cookman University’s commencement ceremony, where she delivered the keynote address. Many graduating students in the audience also turned their backs on her as she spoke.

At one point, the president of the university, Edison O. Jackson, interrupted Ms. DeVos to warn protesting students that if they continued to boo, “your degrees will be mailed to you.”

Ms. DeVos did not directly acknowledge the protests in her address at the historically black university, though she did say the Trump administration would “continue to support” HBCUs.

The education secretary’s visit prompted complaints from advocates for HBCUs, as well as students at Bethune-Cookman, ever since it was announced, on May 1. Some on the campus demanded that the invitation be rescinded.

The Chronicle’s Adam Harris was on the scene in Daytona Beach, Fla., and tweeted an account of the events:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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