Graduates at the Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black college literally turned their backs on the keynote speaker during their graduation ceremony. The students booed in protest of the university’s decision to have Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as the keynote speaker at the event. In her speech, she expressed her excitement to give the commencement speech at the graduation ceremony. The protest came as a result of Devos’ careless statement where she stated “black colleges are a choice” despite the fact that black institution rose up in response to the racist social structures.
The protest sparked online buzz as video captured showed the university president Edison Jackson threaten students to cancel the auspicious event and “mail graduation papers” to the students. The graduates continued on in defiance, taking a stand against Devos and her policies. According to The Blaze, in an attempt to quiet down the students and threatening to end the ceremony, Dr. Jackson told students “…choose which way you want to go.” His remarks were met with another wave of boos that overwhelmed the hall.
Needless to say, the internet reacted to the brave and unconventional stand of the graduating class of 2017.The View analyzed the actions of the students pointing out the peaceful protest was a courageous move by the graduants.
The team of the Breakfast show of Power 105.1 awarded Edison Jackson the donkey of the day, highlighting the fact that the university proceeded to invite Betsy DeVos as the key speaker despite students expressing their disapproval.