The Florida State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has called for the resignation of Bethune-Cookman University’s Board of Trustees Chair Joe Petrock and University President Edison Jackson, days before the the school will host U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as its commencement speaker.
In a release, the state’s chapter condemned the appearance and accused the administration of threatening employees and students with termination or withholding of credits and degrees for opposing the appearance.
“We still believe Secretary DeVos should not speak at commencement and that she has no record supporting an honorary degree by Bethune-Cookman University. With the recent comments of President Trump suggesting federal funding for HBCU’s is unconstitutional; this validates our view of a horrible decision by the university inviting Secretary DeVos, who still has not pledged to drastically increase funding for all historically black colleges and universities. The university leadership has drastically fumbled and should resign” says Adora Obi Nweze, President of NAACP Florida State Conference and member of the National Board of Directors.
Officials say that a network of attorneys will be working with campus constituents with accusations against the administration, and will be monitoring the school’s actions leading up to the commencement ceremony scheduled for May 10.