As the controversial official began speaking, many of the soon-to-be graduates stood and turned their backs on her. DeVos’ appearance comes as US President Donald Trump is supposedly trying to reach out and engage historically black colleges and universities.
— Tiff Marshall (@IamTiffMarshall) May 10, 2017
Considered an enemy of public education for her advocacy of school voucher programs, DeVos’ appointment has faced harsh criticism since before her tenure began. When she attempted to enter a public school in Washington, DC, in February, for instance, protesters blocked her entry, with one demonstrator shouting "Go back!” and “Shame, shame!" at her until she left in an SUV.
— Simar (@sahluwal) May 10, 2017
Resistance to DeVos’ began before she even set foot on campus, as a petition to stop her from delivering her speech amassed over 8,400 signatures, though to no avail.
— $murf 🐐 (@smurfresh) May 10, 2017
Twitter pounced on DeVos on her first day in office, after she tweeted, "Day 1 on the job is done, but we’re only getting started. Now where do I find the pencils?" Users on the platform quickly reminded DeVos that underfunded teachers often have to buy their own supplies, and highlighted her post as an example of the billionaire being out of touch with the harsh realities of the US education system.
— ashley yates (@brownblaze) May 9, 2017
School administrators and elements of student leadership applauded DeVos following her speech at Bethune Cookman, and the school’s student government released a video supporting her visit earlier this week.
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) May 10, 2017
Former student body president Jacai Harris told the Washington Post, "She’s awesome, I’m so glad she’s here," and "She’s very transparent, she has a listening ear. We told her about some of the issues we are facing, about students who are single parents, or come from single-parent families, even students who are homeless, and she agreed that we need to find a way to address all of this. She knows the need. It was a great dialogue."
Others suggested that the school’s namesake, renowned activist and education advocate Mary McCleod Bethune, would be disturbed at having DeVos near her house and gravesite.
— jordan 🌹 (@JordanUhl) May 10, 2017