On Monday morning, the Florida NAACP officially called on Bethune-Cookman President Dr. Edison Jackson and Board Chairman Dr. Joe Petrock to resign immediately, ahead of a Wednesday commencement speech from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
The NAACP adds that there has been alleged faculty intimidation and threats made against students that have spoken out against President Donald Trump’s controversial appointee and that they have secured legal representation to protect all involved.
“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.” says Adora Obi Nweze, President of NAACP Florida State Conference “The university leadership has drastically fumbled and should resign”
The school argues that it’s legacy shouldn’t be confined by political parties.
“Bethune-Cookman University is a school built on the legacy and the transformation of students. Dr. Bethune’s love for students started with five little girls and grew to over 250 students during her time as university president. The legacy of Dr. Bethune is that she was not constrained by political ideology, but worked across all parties to support B-CU,” said Edison.
DeVos was President Donald Trump’s most contested cabinet appointee, who required a tie breaking vote from Vice-President Mike Pence to be confirmed earlier this year. A visit from both Trump and DeVos to a Pine Hills school earlier this year drew a heavy protest against the latter’s views and lack of experience in public education.
The commencement ceremony will take place this Wednesday at noon at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach.