Betsy DeVos, the billionaire charter school lobbyist serving as Secretary of Education, has made few headlines since trampling on transgender student rights and saying guns were necessary in schools in order to stave off bear attacks. However, DeVos popped up today to give a commencement speech and was met with a chorus of boos from the opening moments of her remarks.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony at Bethune-Cookman University Wednesday, DeVos spoke with “grim-faced resolve” while being shouted at (“go home”) and booed by those in attendance. DeVos appears to have expected this treatment, opening her speech as follows:
“One of the hallmarks of higher education and of democracy is the ability to converse with people with whom we disagree,” DeVos told the crowd, her voice raised slightly to be heard above the boos. “We can focus on differences that divide us, or we can choose to listen and learn from each other’s experiences.”
About two minutes into her speech, many students turned their backs to DeVos.