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?
To complicate the matter, Schmoke’s first cousin recently received an Education Department appointment.
If you’d like a crash course on what makes DeVos such an objectionable choice to some UB students, read Baltimore Fishbowl Associate Editor Ethan McLeod’s recent article on her acceptance of the commencement invite.
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