Florida College Students Petition to Remove Betsy DeVos as Commencement Speaker

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is scheduled to be the commencement speaker at a historically black college, but an online petition opposing the decision now has more than 5,000 signatures.  

DeVos will address the graduates at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach next Wednesday. But a Change.org petition to remove her from the commencement says her presence is just a "photo op" for the Trump administration. 

"Having DeVos speak at the commencement ceremony is an insult to the BCU graduating class, students, alumni, family, friends, and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s legacy," the petition read. "We, the proud alumni of Bethune-Cookman University, do not want Betsy DeVos to have a seat at our table."

Bethune-Cookman University did not immediately respond to NBC's request for comment. 

Back in February, DeVos – an outspoken supporter of school choice – released a statement saying historically black colleges and universities were the "real pioneers" of school choice.

Her statement was met with public criticism since many HBCUs were established because racism stopped African-Americans from going to other schools.

DeVos called HBCUs proof that more options lead to greater access. But critics said she does not have a firm grasp on history.

Contact Us