“We Are DeVos-stated”: UB Students Protest Slated Commencement Speaker

9/12/17

By Robert OBrien, Courtesy of Baltimore Fishbowl

Betsy DeVos

As could have been expected, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s invitation to speak at University of Baltimore’s winter commencement stirred up controversy. On Monday, UB students staged a protest of the would-be speaker with signs that read “#neverDeVos” and “We are Devos-stated,” according to reporting from WTOP.

UB President (and former mayor) Kurt Schmoke defended his decision to invite the divisive “school choice” champion to the campus in a letter to the student body on Monday.

Schmoke described the negative reaction from students as “the type of reaction that one would expect to have in a vibrant university community.” In other words, it’s important that we have these difficult conversations, yadda, yadda, yadda. While of course a university ought to be a place where spirited debate is encouraged, is it really the purpose of a commencement speech to stir up controversy? Would Schmoke welcome a replay of the “vibrant” reception DeVos received while delivering the keynote address at Bethune-Cookman University’s commencement back in May?

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