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Recent graduates booed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during her commencement speech

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Recent graduates booed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during her commencement speech

WATCH |  Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' Tuesday visit to the historically black college, Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida got off to a rough start. 

Protesters and alumni gathered in defiance of DeVos' scheduled commencement speech to recent graduates on Wednesday.

But it didn't end there.

Class of 2017 graduates booed the Cabinet member as she delivered her remarks, the Washington Post noted.

Recent graduates booed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during her commencement speech

WATCH | Education Secretary Betsy DeVos delivers a commencement speech to a roaring crowd, some of whom had turned their backs as she was speaking.

The graduates became so disruptive that University President Edison Jackson had to chime in.

 “Choose which way you want to go,” he said from the podium.


When DeVos returned to her speech, she reminded students that she was on their side.

"I am at the table fighting on your behalf," she continued.

Acknowledging the escalating and polarizing political climate on social media and cable networks, DeVos reiterated the importance of listening to those with whom you may not necessarily agree. 

“Let’s choose to hear one another out,” DeVos proclaimed. 


The conflict between Bethune-Cookman students and DeVos wasn't impromptu. Prior to her arrival, a petition circulated its way around campus--eventually presented to Jackson to rescind the invitation.

On Wednesday, protesters lined a sidewalk holding signs that read "DeVos is not worthy."

DeVos attracted controversy in February when she said historically black colleges are the "real pioneers when it comes to school choice." Following a wave of criticism, DeVos clarified that these colleges were established out of choice, but rather "in the face of racism."

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