Education Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke at a tech conference in Utah, and the metaphor she used to advocate for school choice has some people shaking their heads. "Let's choose to hear one another out", she said over the chaotic din of students in the audience booing repeatedly, mixed with university officials' futile attempts to counteract their protests with adamant clapping.
There was no chance that was going to happen in 2017.
Some students have voiced outrage over the university's decision to invite DeVos because of comments she made calling historically black colleges and universities "pioneers of school choice".
In her keynote, DeVos repeatedly praised the school's founder, Mary McLeod Bethune, as someone who "refused to accept systemic and repulsive racism", and had "the courage to change old ideas".
I guess maybe the lesson here is don't give a rich white woman an honorary doctorate to a historically black university when her biggest achievement is donating to the Republican Party.
Many had anti-DeVos signs, although there were a few signs congratulating the graduates.
"Some of you may not like it, but she's here, we're welcoming her and we're building new relationships", Jackson said.
DeVos has spent the last few weeks touring schools across America and as recently as Sunday she expressed support for historically black colleges and universities.
Marissa Pantore, a graduating senior at B-CU, she said she'll be sitting out Wednesday's commencement ceremony.
"If this behavior continues", Jackson said angrily as DeVos uncomfortably stood beside him with a frozen smile on her face, "your degrees will be mailed to you".
Nonetheless, the president of the university ignored the complaints and defended the commencement speaker selection by highlighting DeVos' philanthropy work and (supposed) dedication to education.
"And I'm here to demonstrate, in the most tangible way I know how, that I and the entire administration are fully committed to your success and to the success of every student across this great country". Petitions flooded the school before the commencement ceremony took place today, but the President of the university, Dr. Edison O. Jackson supported DeVos giving the speech.