When the students at historically black Bethune-Cookman University booed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during her commencement speech this week, the president of the university stepped in, threatening the graduates that they would receive their degrees by mail if the protests continued.
According to The Washington Post, DeVos was booed from beginning to end by students at the Daytona Beach, Florida, school, all for the crime of being in favor of school choice and saying Americans should engage with individuals across the political spectrum.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to speak with you, and particularly with those who have disagreed with the invitation for me to be here,” DeVos said.
“One of the hallmarks of higher education, and of democracy, is the ability to converse with and learn from those with whom we disagree,” she added. “Let’s choose to hear one another out.”
Edison O. Jackson, the president of the historically black university who had endured calls for his firing over his decision to invite DeVos, stepped in to defend the education secretary during the speech. When the crowd decided they didn’t want to hear her out, he briefly took the microphone to call out his own students.
“If this behavior continues, your degrees will be mailed to you. Choose which way you want to go,” Jackson said, according to The Associated Press.
While this injunction to cause a bit of a ruckus when Dr. Jackson made it, the protests did get somewhat quieter for the rest of the speech. Whether this was due to Jackson’s warning or the fact that there was a bit of snowflake fatigue was anyone’s guess. Either way, what Jackson did was awesome.
You can see the president’s interruption, as well as the full speech, here:
There was a great irony in the students’ decision to make things hard on DeVos, since the education secretary had taken a chance by making her first commencement speech at the historically black institution. She also used the speech to highlight the steps the Trump administration was taking to protect such institutions.
“I want to re-affirm this administration’s commitment to and support for HBCUs and the students they serve,” DeVos said. “Please know this: We support you, and we will continue to support you. That is one reason why we support restoring year-round Pell Grants. This commonsense solution will enable more students to further their educations without taking on additional debt.”
I have no doubt a number of the students disagreed with DeVos’ policy prescriptions, as well as the administration that appointed her, but that’s what happens in a democracy. Booing her for advocating the free exchange of ideas is absolute lunacy.
Thankfully, this university president did exactly what more educators across the country should do to entitled snowflakes.
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H/T BizPac Review