Betsy DeVos is set to be University of Baltimore’s Fall 2017 Commencement Speaker in December

(Centered in the photo is the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos)

by Rachael the Lord

The president of the University of Baltimore, Kurt Schmoke, has made an executive decision to invite U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to speak at the university’s 2017 fall graduation ceremony in December.

Here are the reasons why the whole ordeal is foul, short-sighted, wrong and should not happen:

1. President Kurt Schmoke did not consult with the Student Government Association (SGA) or faculty before making the decision to invite Betsy to speak at fall commencement. He believes that inviting DeVos will be “good for UB”. In not being transparent with the student body, this inevitably deepens the rift between students and the university’s President concerning the lack of transparency and dialogue about decisions that affect students.

2. Betsy DeVos has expressed that her heart is with DREAMERS but made no statement in the ways in which the department of education will stand with DREAMERS and ensure their right to have access to education. DACA and education are intertwined. Making the decision to give Betsy a platform at the University of Baltimore will undermine undocumented students, DREAMERS, who attend the university. It will also mock the university’s previous attempts to provide information and resources to those affected by this week’s attack on DREAMERS.

3. Black, Brown , Muslim, and LGBTQ students at the University of Baltimore have not and will not benefit from DeVos or the Trump administration. It is contradictory to say this campus is a “safe space” but proceed to invite officials who directly attack minorities livelihoods. I.E.: Muslim Ban, Attack on ACA, and stripping DREAMERS of their human rights, etc

It is the university’s responsibility to ensure that the school is safe space, not just physically but being keenly aware of the language/rhetoric we permit on campus.

4. Today we learned, DeVos is rewriting the rules on campus assault having been dissatisfied with Obama’s policies. Before any students can even REGISTER for classes we are permitted to complete a sexual harassment/assault tutorial that takes about two and half hours to complete. This tutorial involves interactive videos and quizzes after each unit that discusses how students are expected to conduct themselves. DeVos is interested in protecting the interests of sexual predators and not victims of sexual assault. Lessening the punishments for sexual predators aids in the perpetuation of de-legitimizing/criminalizing sexual assault and rape.

5. Betsy DeVos and the entire Trump administration are white supremacists and their ideologies are ingrained in every move they make which directly affects Black, Brown ,LGBTQ, Muslim, documented, and undocumented students. Inviting bigotry to speak over your student body is irresponsible and deplorable.

President Schmoke is compromising the integrity of the university. With knowledge that Schmoke did not consult faculty or SGA it is led to believe there are other motives at work that do not benefit the well being and interests of the students here at UB. We are concerned.

I, as a senior student at the University of Baltimore am gravely disappointed in President Kurt Schmoke’s decision. UB’s 2016 cultural diversity report states 47.9% Black, 5.5% is Hispanic/Latino and 4.7% Asian students attend this school. His decision is in direct opposition to the minority students at UB.

We will push back. We will resist.