It is not pragmatic for a university to suck up to their enemies

I’ve been called tactless, among other things, and it’s a fair cop — I’m not very diplomatic. But I am definitely much more judicious than anyone in the Trump administration, I guess. Trump himself is a blundering nitwit, handling this whole Comey affair like a short-tempered, impulsive twit, and Sean Spicer, who is supposed to be good at public relations, was hiding from the press in the bushes.

And now, it’s Betsy DeVos. Poor Betsy. She gave the commencement address at a historically black college, Bethune-Cookman University. Not only is she the person in charge of dismantling the educational system in this country, but the Trump administration has consistently supported racist policies — Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have I said enough? She should have known what she’d get: students and parents booed her throughout the speech, turned their back on her, and some walked out. It was nuts that she was even there. It was amazingly clueless of her to agree to do it, and even more shocking is that she was invited to give that speech. What was going through the mind of Edison Jackson, president of the university? Not much, it seems. He has given three reasons.

But Jackson has staunchly defended his decision, telling reporters Wednesday, God is on our side, and when he’s for you, what does it matter who’s against you?

WTF? That’s a load of god-bothering fatalism right there. Why bother going to college? In’shallah, God will take care of his own.

He called DeVos’s visit an opportunity to engage and educate the secretary, and said she had met earlier with 12 Bethune-Cookman students who had offered her concrete policy suggestions.

That’s a slightly better reason, but it’s still somewhat delusional. DeVos has a long track record of desiring to happily gut schools, and I don’t think a meeting over lunch is going to change her.

Ah, but here comes the real reason.

But he also presented the decision as pragmatic. We are always about the business of making new friends, Jackson said. Her department controls 80% of the revenue that comes into our school. Why wouldn’t we want to do that?

You don’t want to do that, because her department controls 80% of your revenue. Fight back. Resist. It is inappropriate that these people should have so much power over public education, and it’s administrators who constantly concede greater and greater control who are part of the problem.

The students of Bethune-Cookman University who were vocal in their opposition to this anti-education Education Secretary have more integrity than the president of Bethune-Cookman University.

Look at these students!


  1. Raucous Indignation says

    He invited her so his students could humiliate her? Just a hunch. All the rest is dissembling.

  2. Larry says

    It’s so refreshing to see members of this generation giving a damn about something other than video games and texting. I found it amusing that the president of the university had to take the mike at one point and threaten the graduates with canceling the ceremonies. They ignored him. DeVos deserves every bit of scorn and contempt being thrown at her and this event should set the standards for how she and others under the orange menace should be treated at similar affairs.

  3. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    really stupid [yes I said that] of him not to run with the result and just say, we did invite her, in order to publicly shame her, and the students and parents did just as we expected, boo’ing her off the stage; as she deserves..
    yeah, that would still be a bad strategy as she could cutoff their funding completely after being shamed liked that.
    Still better to “own it” than give such a shallow explanation of saying he did it to to ensure their funding (aka kissing her butt).

  4. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    It’s so refreshing to see members of this generation giving a damn about something other than video games and texting rock’n’roll and making out in Cadillacs


    Try not to fall for the media’s reflexive demonization of youth culture. I know it’s hard, but…

  5. gijoel says

    Money her parents made by scamming people into buying overpriced household cleaners. Allegedly.

  6. A. Noyd says

    Raucous Indignation (#1)

    He invited her so his students could humiliate her? Just a hunch.

    Doubtful. HBCUs tend to run fairly conservative, and I’d be willing to bet that the executive positions at them are heavily weighted towards regressive, god-before-people, authoritarian asshole types. President Jackson probably meant just what he said.

  7. Jeremy Shaffer says

    And I still see people on Twitter ranting about how “disrespectful” this protest was. On the upside, I also see a lot of people respond by assertively demanding to know how the whiners would have protested instead. More, the pushback is continued by either noting how the prescribed forms had either been done before in other instances and still called “disrespectful”, or just outright absurd if what your goal is let your complaint be known. That’s assuming an answer is given at all since ignoring the question is a common reply.

  8. dhabecker says

    Do all of these HBC schools get 80% from Feds?
    80%? Good!
    School President makes it sound like they are a Christian school; getting Fed money?
    Betsy should love it.

  9. rietpluim says

    To the students standing up against DeVos: kudos! I applaud you.

    About demonizing youth culture: I have the strong impression that today’s youth is more concerned about environmental and social issues than they were in my days (considering myself an exception). Things are changing for the better.

  10. Raucous Indignation says

    @rietpluim Yes. Today’s youth are far more woke than we ever were.

  11. thirdmill says

    Old joke, revised and edited: Governor of Nevada gets a letter from someone wanting to be Nevada’s Secretary of the Navy. Governor writes back and says, “Thanks, but Nevada doesn’t have a Navy.” Governor then gets another letter that says, “So what, the Trump administration has a Department of Education.”

  12. says

    If they just had her there to speak, but giving the commencement address? That feels like an insult to everybody graduating…

  13. Knabb says

    @9 Jeremy Shaffer

    I mean, it is disrespectful. It’s a very open sign that these students don’t respect DeVos, and the people whining on Twitter are right about that. Where they’re wrong is in thinking that the student should respect DeVos – if she wanted respect she could have led a life that didn’t involve running a massive pyramid scheme, leveraging that to get a government position she didn’t know jack about, then flailing around in public while spewing a constant stream of weaponized ignorance. Then there’s the matter of how she obviously doesn’t respect the students either.

  14. says

    They not only invited her to speak (which is arguably legitimate to do) but also to give the commencement address (which is getting a tad dicey) AND to receive an honorary doctorate! The last is utterly despicable.

  15. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    About demonizing youth culture: I have the strong impression that today’s youth is more concerned about environmental and social issues than they were in my days (considering myself an exception). Things are changing for the better.


  16. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Video games. I forgot video games. They’re, like, SO DIFFERENT from Rock Music and The Polka U GAIS…

  17. blf says

    Betsy DeVos is booed for a reason. Or two. Or three:

    There are many reasons why one might jeer Betsy DeVos […]. Perhaps you find her advocacy for guns in schools due to the ever present grizzly threat to be credulous. Maybe you think that her advocacy for charter schools […] is worthy of complaint. Or maybe what gets your goat is DeVos’s support for vouchers, which takes public money and allows it to be used for tuition at private institutions.

    If you are a student at a historically black college or university (HBCU), however, what is likely the most galling to you was a comment made by DeVos a couple of months ago. After meeting with leaders of HBCUs at the White House, DeVos released a statement:

    HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.

    The sitting education secretary of the United States of America seriously put out a statement equating the creation of colleges and universities that were designed to maintain state-sanctioned segregation to the present-day debate over school choice in the form of vouchers and charter schools. It is a sentiment that is breathtaking in its ignorance […]


    There are many ways that a college or university could “make friends” in order to “raise money” that do not involve inviting someone so ignorant of recent history in the US to address students at an event that they have worked hard toward for years.

    After all, it is why institutions of higher education have departments of government relations, including Bethune-Cookman [PDF]. And one certainly does not need to engage in such outlandish puffery like the Bethune-Cookman administration did, where they sent out a press release comparing DeVos to the school’s founder and namesake, who built the university up while being threatened by the Ku Klux Klan on a regular basis.


    Giving a platform to those that would undermine [HBCU’s] legacy — and defending such a choice as strongly as Edison Jackson has — is simply a disgrace. In the end, you really got to wonder about the kind of educator that sees Betsy DeVos as an ally while treating Bobbie Luke [a sophomore who was ejected –blf] as a threat.

    A video of Bobbie Luke’s ejection.