Betsy DeVos Announced As Bethune-Cookman Commencement Speaker, Collective Black Confusion Ensues
People are not happy with the choice at all.
When our secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, stumbled her way through a drag of the Denver public school system recently, she admitted that math isn’t her strong suit.
Despite rampant spelling errors that suggest otherwise, Bethune-Cookman University announced today that it has faith in the secretary as a humanities person, and that she will be giving the commencement speech to this year’s graduating class.
In a statement, the University compared DeVos to American hero Dr. Mary McLeod-Bethune, noting that “much like Dr. Bethune, founder of Bethune-Cookman University, Secretary DeVos deems the importance of opportunity and hope for students to receive an exceptional educational experience.”
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People online have been less than impressed with the school’s choice:
Yikes, Betsy DeVos is speaking at Bethune-Cookman 2017 commencement. That class is forever tainted— JB 🇯🇲🇸🇱 (@Jay_Sis_) May 1, 2017'
I'm confused.. why was Betsy Devos selected to be the commencement speaker for Bethune Cookman University????— hjf. (@brincessdaaj) May 1, 2017'
Betsy Devos is Bethune-Cookman's commencement speaker.........i wonder how mu.....nvm— JojoC (@joreyc4life) May 1, 2017'
Having Betsy Devos Speak at Commencement is a direct slap in the face to the legacy of Mary McLeod Bethune. #StopDevosBCU— T • W I L L (@TheReal_TWill) May 1, 2017'
DeVos, a white woman born into wealth is using Bethune's legacy as a selfmade Black woman born into poverty to push her school choice fiasco— Sil Lai Abrams (@Sil_Lai) May 1, 2017'
Mary Mcleod Bethune is not a happy woman today.— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) May 1, 2017'
Betsy Devos has no business speaking at Bethune Cookman.
These HBCU presidents have lost it
And the response at Bethune-Cookman hasn’t been overly enthusiastic either. One graduate of the university has even gone so far as to start a petition to remove DeVos as the class speaker.
Bethune-Cookman defended its choice by listing a few Florida charities the DeVos family has donated to, reminding its students that “BC-U receives $4 million annually through Title III,” a Department of Education program started by Lyndon Johnson’s Congress (not by Betsy DeVos), and that “the legacy of Dr. Bethune is that she was not constrained by political ideology.”
That may be so, but it’s a little hard to imagine Dr. Bethune, who used a hard-won $1.50 to start a school specifically for the education of young black women, co-signing a commencement speech by a woman with precious little education experience who is part of an administration that believes funding the education of girls is a waste of money.
Which leaves Bethune-Cookman students and the internet united in the following: