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Trump Education Secretary Speaks at Historically Black College and Chaos Ensues

On Wednesday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave the keynote address at Florida’s Bethune-Cookman University commencement ceremony.

According to The Washington Post, students objected to her as the commencement speaker. However, university President Edison O. Jackson defended DeVos on the basis of her work as a philanthropist and commitment to education.

On Wednesday, graduates of the college made their opinion on DeVos known when some graduates decided to stand up and turn their backs to the stage as she spoke:

Students also voiced their displeasure with the speaker. Buzzfeed News reporter Molly Hensley-Clancy captured a video of the boos overwhelming DeVos’s speech:

Hensley-Clancy claimed DeVos “stumbled over her words” but still finished her speech despite the incessant booing.

She tweeted that one student yelled “aw, shut the f*ck up,” and another student gave the “black power symbol” as he was “walked out to deafening cheers.”

The former head of social media for CNBC primetime, Marika Shaub, seemed to capture on video the moment the student was escorted out of the ceremony:

Students also weren’t pleased when DeVos mentioned that she would be visiting the grave of the school’s founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, whose bio explains that she was “a child of former slaves” who ”[became] a world-renowned educator”:

At one point in the ceremony, school President Jackson interrupted DeVos briefly to inform students they can “choose which way you want to go.”

He claimed “if this behavior continues,” their degrees will be coming via USPS. It seemed to have little to no effect on the crowd:

According to CNN, a group of about 15 students had the opportunity to meet with DeVos for a roundtable discussion before the commencement. Jackson claimed students benefit from hearing views that contradict their own and said:

“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.”

The Washington Post noted that adviser to President Donald Trump Omarosa Manigault also attended the commencement ceremony and was also booed upon being introduced.

Jackson reportedly stopped speaking and then told students, “You don’t know her. You don’t know her story.”