By BARBARA HOWARD
What should have been a celebratory event, the 2017 commencement ceremony at Bethune-Cookman University was turned into a political statement against President Donald Trump and his Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Some members of the graduation class booed Secretary DeVos as she began her commencement speech and many stood up and literally turned their backs on her. I heard one person compare this to Colin Kaepernick refusing to salute the flag. Others compared it to students at Berkeley College and other liberal universities protesting speeches by conservatives.
Fox News and TheHuffington Post reported that over 50,000 signatures were gathered protesting DeVos’ very appearance at the Historically Black College.
It saddens me that this liberal push back against conservatism has infected black college campuses. Activists who protest and commit violence in the name of free speech fail to extend the same courtesy of free speech to those who don’t share their socalled values.
It used to be that black college campuses were the paragon of virtue when it came to respecting others’ values. They were taught that manners mattered. Before now it would have never been thought of to disrespect a speaker at your commencement ceremony.
Booing would never have been allowed. The president of the university would never have had to threaten those booing with not receiving their diplomas that night – a night when families and friends come to see their loved ones complete years of preparation for the real world of work.
But since Donald Trump has become POTUS, liberals all across the country, especially on college campuses, have acted as if they have lost their minds. They have marched by the thousands and even perpetrated violence against anyone who they think is a Republican or Trump supporter.
They’ve broken windows, looted, turned over cars and set them on fire in a rage unfit for civil society. Yet they have not been condemned for such behavior. But they condemn everyone else.
For years now, good behavior has been eroded in the black community. Ask anyone of those students who booed Secretary DeVos what kind of music is pumped into their heads on a daily basis and I bet they will recite one of the numerous vile and violent lyrics memorized from a gangsta rap song where women are demonized, violence is lionized and God is noticeably nonexistent.
I salute those students who remained in their seats while the others stood and turned their backs. And I salute the president of Bethune-Cookman, Dr. Edison Jackson, for his stance in demanding the students behave properly.
However, the NAACP Florida Conference is demanding that Dr. Jackson and his Board Chairman Dr. Joe Petrock resign immediately for not only inviting Secretary DeVos, but because when President Jackson chastised the students, he became guilty, in their minds of “faculty intimidation demanding their silence or risk termination” for “freedom of expression”.
Are they serious? The NAACP wants to control the right of the university president for demanding good and decent behavior from his students? And they have gotten support from numerous attorneys including the T. J. Reddick Bar Association to represent the faculty and students who “peaceably protested and were subject to retaliation by the university.”
Not only are the actions of the students deplorable, but the actions of the NAACP is beyond reprehensible. You see, freedom of speech has become a right that only the liberal left is entitled to, especially in this age of Trump as POTUS.
Mary McCloud Bethune must be turning over in her grave.