Graduates disrupt another DeVos commencement speech
Several University of Baltimore graduates protested U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as she delivered a commencement speech Monday.
According to The Baltimore Sun, some attendees booed and turned their back on DeVos during her congratulatory speech honoring the graduating seniors.
The university’s decision to invite DeVos to commencement was met with harsh criticism from students in September, with thousands signing a petition calling for her to be disinvited.
“This is unacceptable,” the petition read. “This is not what UB students want. The overwhelming majority of UB students and alumni, as well as the Baltimore community in general are appalled at this decision.”
Around the same time, dozens of students staged a “class walk-out” protest, disrupting their classes by standing up during lectures and assembling for an anti-DeVos rally.
A video of Monday’s protest shows more than a dozen graduates facing away from the speaker as she continues to deliver her speech to an auditorium filled with hundreds of attendees.
DeVos appeared to criticize protesters during her address, stressing that too many people are quick to “join in the chorus of conflict.”
"The natural instinct is to join in the chorus of conflict, to raise your voice louder, to promote your profile and ostracize others,” she stated. “Too many assume that those who are the loudest are leaders and those who stay quiet are followers. But we will not solve the significant and real problems our country faces if we cannot embrace this paradox of silence.”
She went on to stress the importance of listening first to other points of view, rather than immediately jumping to conclusions.
“We will do well to first listen, study, ponder, then speak to genuinely engage those with whom we disagree,” she continued. “Voices that are quiet at first, grow in strength while those who rush to shout are humbled.”
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