HBCU Graduates Shouldn’t Have to Listen to Controversial Speakers

It’s commencement season. And college graduates across the country are reveling in this extraordinary ritual of spring. Parents beam with pride. Families, many of whom have traveled a great distance to attend graduation ceremonies, shout with joy as their love ones walk across the stage and receive their diploma. Their laughter and tears nourish the blooms of spring. Both mark new beginnings.

But this year has been a bit different. Graduates at Bethune-Cookman University, an historically black college founded by Mary McCloud Bethune in 1904, loudly protested their commencement speaker, Betsy DeVos. They booed as she urged them to learn from those “with whom [they] disagree…,” and to do so respectfully. Many turned their backs as she spoke.

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