Graduation season is in full effect as colleges have begun announcing their commencement speakers. But Bethune-Cookman University is under fire for its pick.
Earlier this week, the Florida school revealed that the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would deliver the graduation speech.
In a press release, the institution stated, “Much like Dr. Bethune, Founder of Bethune-Cookman University, Secretary DeVos deems the importance of opportunity and hope for students to receive an exceptional education experience. Her mission to empower parents and students resonates with the history and legacy of Dr. Bethune.”
However, many disagree.
In February, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos praised historically black colleges and universities as "real pioneers when it comes to school choice.” Although she later expounded on her statement, some say her initial one implied that HBCUs were created to merely provide more options; not to combat segregation and Jim Crow laws that prevented blacks from attending college.
Consequently, people have disapproved of Bethune-Cookman’s choice, expressing their angst on social media. .
People haven’t just taken to Twitter. An online petition has also been created in attempt to “stop this from happening.” So far, more 5,000 have signed it. The goal is 7,500.
Bethune-Cookman’s commencement is scheduled for Wednesday, May 10.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.