DeVos met with student protests during Univ. of Baltimore commencement speech

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On Wednesday, University of Baltimore students protested Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during her commencement speech.

According to The Baltimore Sun, several students stood and turned their backs to DeVos as she spoke. Others raised their fists. One even had “#Not my commencement speaker” written on her cap.

What’s more, one of the faculty members onstage joined the protest.

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“This paradox of silence”

During her speech, DeVos appeared to call out the many protests she has met while speaking across various campuses.

“The natural instinct is to join in the chorus of conflict, to raise your voice louder, to promote your profile and ostracize others,” she said. “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.”

“We will do well to first listen, study, ponder, then speak to genuinely engage those with whom we disagree. Voices that are quiet at first, grow in strength while those who rush to shout are humbled.”

Protests from the start

Students and faculty alike protested the University of Baltimore’s decision to ask DeVos to speak during the commencement ceremony.

When the school announced the speaker in September, several students and teachers protested the decision. Specifically, they pointed to DeVos’s position on public schools and school choice.

In protesting the school’s decision, over 3,000 people signed a petition demanding that the school change its mind. When that didn’t happen, the students decided to take matters into their own hands to protest.

This is not the first time that DeVos has faced protests from students. Other speaking events have ended the same way, and she has faced backlash from other events as she has gone to other schools across the country.