Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will deliver the commencement address at Bethune-Cookman University on Wednesday — a speech that has already caused controversy because of DeVos’ recent statements about historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
In February, DeVos called HBCUs “pioneers” of the school choice movement, even though they were founded to provide educational opportunities to black students who were shut out of other institutions.
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.
“If our students are robbed of the opportunity to experience and interact with views that may be different from their own, then they will be tremendously less equipped for the demands of democratic citizenship,” Bethune-Cookman University President Edison Jackson said last week.
Watch DeVos’ speech live below at 12 p.m. ET.