US University of Baltimore students protest DeVos as fall commencement speaker

23:41  11 september  2017
23:41  11 september  2017 Source:   MSN

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U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been invited to speak at the University of Baltimore 's DeVos was heckled at a May commencement speech at the historically black Bethune-Cookman University in Florida, where many of the graduating students turned their backs to her in protest .

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivers a commencement speech to graduates at Bethune-Cookman University on Wednesday in Daytona Beach, Fla.© John Raoux/AP Photo Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivers a commencement speech to graduates at Bethune-Cookman University on Wednesday in Daytona Beach, Fla. BALTIMORE - University of Baltimore President Kurt Schmoke defended his decision to invite U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to speak at the school's fall commencement, even as dozens of students protested against the invitation Monday and hundreds more signed a petition demanding he change his mind.

Schmoke, a former mayor of Baltimore, said students should reserve judgment on the controversial member of President Donald Trump's Cabinet. Hosting DeVos, he said, is "in the best tradition of the university."

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Graduating seniors at Bethune-Cookman University in Florida turned their backs to protest Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during her commencement speech on May 10. The students said they organized the protest because of her remarks about historically black schools like theirs. (Reuters).

The Notre Dame protest comes after Bethune-Cookman University students booed, chanted and turned their backs on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during her commencement address at their ceremony earlier this month.

"The university stands for freedom of speech," Schmoke said. "My bottom line conclusion is the university stands for debate on controversial issues. I do feel that having the U.S. secretary of education on our campus is something that's very important for the university, and in the long run, I believe that students will recognize that whether they agree with her position on issues or not."

Dozens of students participated in a "class walkout" demonstration Monday afternoon, the first of two protests planned for Monday. UB junior Tracy Johnson stood up midway through her global ethics class and walked out, carrying a neon orange sign that read, #NeverBetsy.

"Commencement is not the place for Betsy DeVos," Johnson said. "She stands against everything we represent."

DeVos expected to share plans on Title IX enforcement

  DeVos expected to share plans on Title IX enforcement Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has said Obama administration guidance on how colleges should handle sexual assault complaints isn't working and suggested it needs to be revised.She was expected to detail her plans Thursday in what the Education Department described as a major policy address on Title IX enforcement.That law, enacted in 1972, forbids discrimination based on sex in education. It was once seen as a measure to ensure equity in college sports, but in recent years has become associated with efforts to address sexual assault and harassment at college campuses.

Some students and alumni of the historically black college in Daytona Beach, Fla. protested her selection as commencement speaker , calling for the university to rescind her invitation. But university leaders have defended DeVos ' address.

Betsy DeVos has been invited (and has now accepted) to deliver University of Baltimore 's Fall 2017 Commencement speech. This decision was not made in any way by the faculty, student government, or the student body as a whole.

DeVos supports "school choice," and is a proponent of charter schools and school vouchers. She says her vision will create competition and improve public schools, but teachers' unions and other supporters of public education say the secretary's ideas would undermine the schools that serve the majority of America's students.

"Your graduation day speaker is supposed to represent the best ideals of your school and highest aspirations of the students," Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous said at the rally. "Betsy DeVos is quite simply the most anti-public education secretary of education our country has ever had."

Alec Ross, another Democrat running for governor, stood beside Jealous to listen to students at the event.

In a survey disseminated Friday by the student government association, more than 80 percent of respondents said they did not want DeVos to speak at the Dec.18 graduation ceremony. Nearly 3,000 had signed a petition asking Schmoke to rescind the invitation by the time the rally began in Gordon Plaza.

Visit The Baltimore Sun at www.baltimoresun.com

China is retaliating against a US university for inviting the Dalai Lama to speak at graduation .
Beijing has a lesson for overseas universities: Don’t invite speakers who oppose the Communist Party to big events. A branch of the Chinese government has…A branch of the Chinese government has barred Chinese scholars from receiving state funding to study at the University of California, San Diego, according to people at the school. The freeze highlights how Beijing is steadily placing pressure on overseas universities to suppress viewpoints that run counter to Communist Party orthodoxy.

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