The NAACP Florida State Conference is now calling for the resignation of the president of Bethune-Cookman University following the decision to invite Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to speak at its commencement ceremony.
The NAACP strongly stated that they not only disagreed with the choice of commencement speaker but were also lawyering up in defense of students and administration who had spoken up against DeVos who were reportedly being intimidated or punished for their outrage.
“The NAACP Florida State Conference is calling on Bethune Cookman University President Dr. Edison Jackson and Board Chairman Dr. Joe Petrock to resign effective immediately. Since our initial public outcry last week, multiple allegations have surfaced including faculty intimidation demanding their silence or risk termination and threats to students by potentially withholding earned degrees and fines for freedom of expression. If these allegations are proven, this contrasts the public statements of university administration who opposes suppressing voices by welcoming U.S. Education Secretary DeVos but lends indirect support to these actions against faculty and students,” the chapter said in a statement.
The NAACP went on to say that it still objected to the decision to have DeVos speak in light of the administration’s recent actions.
“We still believe Secretary DeVos should not speak at commencement and that she has no record supporting an honorary degree by Bethune Cookman University. With the recent comments of President Trump suggesting federal funding for HBCU’s is unconstitutional; this validates our view of a horrible decision by the university inviting Secretary DeVos, who still has not pledged to drastically increase funding for all historically black colleges and universities. The university leadership has drastically fumbled and should resign” said Adora Obi Nweze, President of NAACP Florida State Conference and member of the National Board of Directors.