The Latest: Protesters gather at DeVos commencement speech

BALTIMORE – 12:55 pm

About 50 protesters gathered on the other side of the street of Baltimore theatre, where Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will be a commencement speech for graduates of a public university.

The protesters are, for example, University of Baltimore faculty, LGBT activists, and students. Some carried signs with slogans such as “democracy should be the public schools.”

DeVos has spent decades promoting the use of vouchers and other methods to redirect public money into private schools.

Kerrin Smith is a 26-year-old graduate student at the University of Baltimore. She says she was “shocked and disappointed” by the choice of DeVos as commencement speaker, citing what she describes as the Trump administration “strangling of public education.”

Debbie Kohl is an associate professor in the University of Baltimore college of arts and sciences. She was among a dozen teachers wear academic robes while protesting DeVos out of the theater. She says that many of her fellow professors believe DeVos “represents the policies and views that are at odds with the work that we do for our students.”

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Ministry of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is scheduled to stop in Baltimore for providing a start address to a public university.

In the last few weeks have been some of the University of Baltimore students have protested at the choice of DeVos as their fall commencement speaker. They argue that He should not be invited to speak on a public campus, since they see her as hostile to public education and indifferent to civil rights.

University of Baltimore President Kurt Schmoke has sent a letter to the students to explain why he thinks that DeVos is a good choice as a speaker. Schmoke, a former mayor of Baltimore.

University spokesman Chris Hart said that there are safety plans in place. He says that the university wants to “ensure that the day is enjoyable for our graduates and their families and friends.”

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