Bethune-Cookman Officials Cite Final Commencement Protest Count at 20 Students

Bethune-Cookman University has released its post-commencement press release, and cites the total number of student protestors from yesterday’s exercises at 20, with 13 students being removed from the event.

From the release:

Secretary DeVos delivered the commencement address as twenty students expressed their freedom of protest during her speech. “I am here to celebrate you and all of your achievements. We are all here to applaud your perseverance and to encourage each of you to keep working to reach your full potential. 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,” she stated.

Secretary DeVos gave personal acknowledgements of students who faced hardships during their matriculation and how they overcame those obstacles.

Furthermore, Secretary DeVos imparted words to express a call to serve as the graduates depart from B-CU. “Just think about the impact of Dr. Bethune’s selfless, singular focus. Then consider the influence that you, as a graduate, could have on the lives of others – both now and into the future. All that is required for world-shaking change is your conscious and courageous decision to serve. Your path here was shaped by others – educators, parents, family members, neighbors and friends. Never forget that. Through serving others, you can extend that legacy.”

Out of the 374 graduates, thirteen students were escorted out of the ceremony due to disruption, while 300 students supported the secretary in her response. Secretary DeVos spent time with students before commencement in a round table discussion as they shared thoughts on their educational experiences and created conversation around partnership and what’s to come for the current students at B-CU. Later, the U.S. Secretary visited the Mary McLeod Bethune Foundation home and placed a commemorative wreath on Dr. Bethune’s burial site. “I was honored and humbled by the opportunity to visit Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s home and pay my respects at her gravesite. I hope we can all draw inspiration from the life and legacy of Dr. Bethune as we each strive to live a life full of service, courage and grace,” she said.

Courtesy of CNN, a video of Sec. DeVos’ full commencement address.

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