Daytona Beach, FL, United States

Bethune-Cookman University

www.cookman.edu
Daytona Beach, FL, United States

Bethune-Cookman University, or simply B-CC or B-CU, is a private historically black university in Daytona Beach, Florida, United States. White Hall has been added to the US National Register of Historic Places. Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

The US secretary of education faced jeers when she spoke at Bethune-Cookman University. And rightly so There are many reasons why one might jeer Betsy DeVos, the US education secretary. Perhaps you find her advocacy for guns in schools due to the ever present grizzly threat to be credulous. Maybe you think that her advocacy for charter schools – and the deleterious effects that these have had in her home state of Michigan – is worthy of complaint. Or maybe what gets your goat is DeVos’s support for vouchers, which takes public money and allows it to be used for tuition at private institutions. If you are a student at a historically black college or university (HBCU), however, what is likely the most galling to you was a comment made by DeVos a couple of months ago. After meeting with leaders of HBCUs at the White House, DeVos released a statement: The sitting education secretary of the United States of America seriously put out a statement equating the creation of colleges and universities that were designed to maintain state-sanctioned segregation to the present-day debate over “school choice” in the form of vouchers and charter schools. It is a sentiment that is breathtaking in its ignorance, but given the context of the White House administration that DeVos serves, perhaps not so much. It is in this context that we should place what happened at Bethune-Cookman University on Wednesday. There, DeVos was booed heavily as she, shockingly, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the institution. The booing was so loud that Bethune-Cookman president Edison Jackson admonished the crowd, threatening them with the cancellation of the event. He explained the motives of awarding DeVos and inviting her to be the commencement speaker: There are many ways that a college or university could “make friends” in order to “raise money” that do not involve inviting someone so ignorant of recent history in the US to address students at an event that they have worked hard toward for years. After all, it is why institutions of higher education have departments of government relations, including Bethune-Cookman. And one certainly does not need to engage in such outlandish puffery like the Bethune-Cookman administration did, where they sent out a press release comparing DeVos to the school’s founder and namesake, who built the university up while being threatened by the Ku Klux Klan on a regular basis. But that is beside the point: During the speech, a sophomore, Bobbie Luke, right fist aloft, was escorted out of the Ocean Center. He told CNN he didn’t know why he was removed. “I’m standing with my seniors, man. No one likes her, man. Period,” he said. “I don’t like what she said, and nothing at the end of the day is going to change my opinion.” Luke is not wrong. HBCUs have a diverse tradition, but one of the pillars of HBCU history is the solidarity and hard work that they gave to the civil rights movement. Some of the movement’s most recognized leaders – such as Fisk University student and future US congressman John Lewis – came from these institutions forged from necessity in the hottest fires of the Jim Crow south. These campuses acted as centers for organizing, culture and safety during a period where the simple act of registering people to vote could result in the end of someone’s life. Just as they did during the 1950s and 1960s, HBCUs continue to play a large role in the latest iterations of organizing around justice and equality. You would be hard-pressed to find an HBCU that had not hosted or provided aid to the Black Lives Matter movement. But beyond that, HBCUs have been at the center of economic struggle as well. Tougaloo College, for example, has been an ongoing springboard of organizing for workers at the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, who have been fighting for union recognition for years. The legacy of HBCUs is that they continue to produce people who will leave college and be at the forefront of progress and community change. There’s a long line from Mary McLeod Bethune to our present-day working class intellectuals such as Tressie McMillan Cottom, and you can trace that through places like Bethune-Cookman University. Giving a platform to those that would undermine that legacy – and defending such a choice as strongly as Edison Jackson has – is simply a disgrace. In the end, you really got to wonder about the kind of educator that sees Betsy DeVos as an ally while treating Bobbie Luke as a threat.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

(Reuters) - Graduating seniors at Bethune-Cookman University in Florida turned their backs in protest of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at the start of her commencement speech on Wednesday at the historically black institution. Boos and jeers could be heard as DeVos, who drew ire in February when she said historically black colleges were "pioneers" of educational choice, was introduced. Faculty and school administrators on stage stood and applauded. Live video of the ceremony in Daytona Beach showed many graduates facing away from DeVos, though it was not clear how many of the approximately 300 seniors participated in the silent protest. "One of the hallmarks of higher education and of democracy is the ability to converse with and learn from those with whom we disagree," DeVos told the graduates. The university's president, Edison Jackson, interrupted her speech with a warning to students. "If this behavior continues, your degrees will be mailed to you," he said. "Choose which way you want to go." Ahead of the speech, students, alumni and political activists sought to have DeVos' invitation rescinded, saying they were offended by her earlier comment. DeVos, who is a proponent of school choice - including charter schools and school vouchers - later clarified her remark, noting that historically black colleges were created because other institutions were not open to African-Americans. About 60,000 signatures on two petitions were delivered to school officials on Tuesday objecting to her appearance at the university. “Right now is not the time for Secretary DeVos to speak at any historically black college," said Dominik Whitehead, a Bethune-Cookman alumnus who led one of the petition drives. DeVos' statement, he said, "just shows she is out of touch.” In a statement on Sunday, President Donald Trump said DeVos chose Bethune-Cookman for her first commencement address as education secretary to show the Republican administration's dedication to the mission of historically black colleges and universities. Jackson, an African-American and a Republican, and some others defended the choice of DeVos as the graduation speaker for the school, which was named for black educator and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune. Sean P. Jackson, chairman of the Black Republican Caucus of Florida, said DeVos had long been a champion of providing strong education opportunities for minority students. "The secretary says we should allow charter schools to come in and educate children if they are doing a better job than the public schools," Jackson said on Tuesday.


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

FILE - In this March 21, 2017 file photo, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Conservative senators are pushing to diminish insurance coverage requirements imposed by President Barack Obama’s health care law as Senate Republicans try fashioning legislation overhauling the nation’s health care system. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — A commencement address by the No. 2 Senate Republican was canceled Friday after opposition from students at the historically black university where he was scheduled to speak. The cancellation of Sen. John Cornyn's planned Saturday address at Texas Southern University came just days after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was booed and heckled as she delivered a commencement speech at a different historically black university, Bethune-Cookman University in Florida. Students at Texas Southern University in Houston had circulated a petition demanding the Texas senator be withdrawn as a commencement speaker, citing various stances he has taken. These included his confirmation votes in favor of DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his opposition to funding for so-called sanctuary cities that protect immigrants and his support for photo IDs for voting. The petition also cited Cornyn's low rating by the NAACP. "Having a politician such as him speak at our institution is an insult to the students, to TSU, and to all (historically black colleges and universities)," said the petition on the change.org site. "This is our graduation. We have the right to decide if we want to refuse to sit and listen to the words of a politician who chooses to use his political power in ways that continually harm marginalized and oppressed people." The university released a statement saying that, "Every consideration is made to ensure that our students' graduation day is a celebratory occasion and one they will remember positively for years to come. We asked Sen. Cornyn to instead visit with our students again at a future date in order to keep the focus on graduates and their families. We, along with Sen. Cornyn, agree that the primary focus of commencement should be a celebration of academic achievement." Cornyn's spokesman said, "Sen. Cornyn was honored to be invited to address TSU's graduates, but he respects the administration's decision and looks forward to continuing to engage with the university in the future." The development comes amid a nationwide debate over free speech on college campuses, in the wake of two high-profile incidents at Berkeley where planned speeches by conservatives ended up getting canceled amid fears of violent student protests.


Betsy DeVos' commencement speech to students at a historically black university has been met with boos and interruptions, with many students turning their backs on Donald Trump's education secretary as she addressed the crowd at Bethune-Cookman Universtiy. The scene was so raucous that it prompted school president Edison Jackson to say: “If this behaviour continues, your degrees will be mailed to you.” The decision of Florida's Bethune-Cookman University to have Ms DeVos speak at their commencement originally led to protests on campus. The students claimed Ms DeVos’ policies disproportionately hurt minority students in the US, especially in the black community. Bethune-Cookman is part of a group of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that were established prior to the civil rights reforms of 1964 to help serve the African-American community. Ms DeVos was supposed to speak for nearly one hour, but wrapped up in a third of the time. She said: “While we will undoubtedly disagree at times I hope we can do so respectfully. Let's choose to hear one another out. I want to reaffirm this administration's commitment to and support for HBCUs and the students they serve." School choice seems to be the crux of the problem most students have with Ms DeVos. Ms DeVos sparked controversy in February when she called HBCU's "pioneers" of school choice – seemingly unaware they were only established because black students were not allowed admission to colleges or universities in many states. Fedrick Ingram, vice president of the Florida Education Association and a Bethune-Cookman alumnus told CNN the comment was “blatantly ignorant”. Ms DeVos later recanted her statement. In terms of policy, Ms DeVos has advocated for subsidising costs to parents, especially those in urban areas, so they can choose private charter schools for their children instead of sending them to free, public schools. Some see this as her ignoring the problems of the US public education system she is tasked with leading. Critics say she is also ignoring the fact that charter or religion-based schools may not provide an equal quality of education. They are often not subject to the same state standards as public schools and are only available to a limited number of students. Ms DeVos has also worked to reduce consumer protections for those receiving student loans – approximately 71 per cent of American students at four-year universities have some sort of loans. African-American students are also disproportionately required to take out loans to access higher education. Mr Jackson argued the school decided to invite Ms DeVos because the administration did not want students “robbed of the opportunity to experience and interact with views that may be different from their own” in order to prepare them for “democratic citizenship”.


It's unclear what administrators at Bethune-Cookman University were imagining when they invited Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to speak at their student's commencement ceremony, but it's far easier to guess what their students thought of the choice: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was greeted with a deafening chorus of boos from students when she delivered her commencement speech at the historically black university on Wednesday. Some students turned their backs on the secretary and did everything they could to communicate their dissent. SEE ALSO: How to style your vagina so it's no longer a pre-existing condition At some points during the speech, the boos became so loud that the secretary had to pause. In normal circumstances, we'd suggest you listen to the full speech but, honestly, who ever listens to a full commencement speech. So just soak in these beautifully awkward moments of the students making their voices heard instead. Twitter, too, had its own congratulations to send to the Bethune-Cookman students. After the university announced in early May that DeVos would speak, over 50,000 people signed a petition to have her removed. Alumni of the school have even offered to mail back their degrees. The education secretary hasn't exactly demonstrated a depth of knowledge about the history of race and education in America. In February, Betsy DeVos came under fire for misspelling the revered black historian W.E.B. Dubois' name in a tweet. Later that month, DeVos appeared to confuse school choice with school segregation. "HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice," DeVos said in a statement. Historically black colleges, it shouldn't have to be said, were built because students of color were denied entrance to all-white universities — not because of vouchers, which didn't exist yet. In April, DeVos rolled back Obama-era protections for student loan borrowers, which didn't exactly make her popular among  ... students. None of that stopped the university from inviting DeVos to speak and awarding her an honorary doctorate. Which made everyone long for the days when commencement speeches were delivered by random teachers reading from Oh, The Places You'll Go. Oh, and a new education secretary.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos did not receive a warm welcome from every graduating senior at Bethune-Cookman University in Florida. Many in the crowd booed and turned their backs on DeVos during her commencement speech.


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

(Reuters) - U.S. Senator John Cornyn will no longer deliver the commencement address at Texas Southern University this weekend, the school said on Friday, after U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was booed at another historically black university. More than 800 people signed a petition started by a Texas Southern University student who opposed the university's invitation to the Republican senator to speak at Saturday's graduation in Houston. The petition said Cornyn's backing of DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, among other things, showed that he supported "discriminatory policies and politicians." "We have the right to decide if we want to refuse to sit and listen to the words of a politician who chooses to use his political power in ways that continually harm marginalized and oppressed people," the petition said. The university, which will graduate more than 1,100 students on Saturday, said every effort had been made to ensure its ceremony was a celebration that would be remembered for the right reasons. Cornyn has been invited to meet with Texas Southern University students in the future, the school said in a statement. Libby Hambleton, a spokeswoman for Cornyn, said in an email that the senator was honored to have been invited to speak, but that he "respects the administration's decision and looks forward to continuing to engage with the university in the future." It was not immediately clear who would replace Cornyn at the ceremony. Texas Southern University's action came after graduates at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, booed, jeered and turned their backs on DeVos in protest on Wednesday as the education secretary gave a commencement speech. Bethune-Cookman students, alumni and political activists, angered by comments DeVos has made about historically black colleges and universities, gathered tens of thousands of signatures on petitions seeking to have the invitation to DeVos rescinded. DeVos, who is a proponent of school choice, said in February that such schools were "real pioneers" when it came to choice, without acknowledging racism as the main factor that led to the creation of such institutions. She subsequently noted that historically black colleges were created because other institutions were not open to African-Americans.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

The education secretary was drowned out by jeers upon taking the podium at the historically black Bethune-Cookman University and cut her address short Betsy DeVos was met with boos while addressing graduates of Bethune-Cookman University in Florida on Wednesday, as some students turned their backs in protest against Donald Trump’s education secretary. DeVos, whose selection as the commencement speaker was opposed by many students and faculty at the historically black university, was drowned out by jeers upon taking the podium and at numerous points throughout her speech. “While we will undoubtedly disagree at times, I hope we can do so respectfully,” she remarked. “Let’s choose to hear one another out. I want to reaffirm this administration’s commitment to and support for [historically black colleges and universities] and the students they serve.” DeVos strained to overcome the hecklers, often raising her voice. The crowd had erupted in boos at the very mention of her name by Edison Jackson, the university’s president, who presented DeVos with an honorary doctorate. DeVos finished her remarks in 20 minutes, as opposed to the one hour of allotted time. Photos and video of the event showed roughly half of the 380 graduates turning their backs on the education secretary, who was confirmed by the US Senate in February only by a historic tie-breaking vote cast by the vice-president, Mike Pence. DeVos sought to underscore the Trump administration’s commitment to historically black colleges and universities, known as HBCUs, telling her audience: “I am at the table fighting on your behalf.” In late February, Trump held a meeting at the White House with representatives of 64 of the country’s 100 HBCUs. But advocates have been skeptical of the new administration, which has often projected a dismissive attitude toward civil rights. DeVos came under fire herself in February for framing HBCUs as “real pioneers when it comes to school choice”, a reference to her desire to move toward a more privatized education system in the US. Her comments were roundly condemned for ignoring the history of HBCUs, which were founded during the era of racial segregation. Laws at the time barred African Americans from attending schools, thus leaving them with no choice but to create their own. Jackson defended the university’s decision to host DeVos in a statement, saying: “If our students are robbed of the opportunity to experience and interact with views that may be different from their own, then they will be tremendously less equipped for the demands of democratic citizenship.”


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 479.47K | Year: 2014

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) through Targeted Infusion Projects supports the development, implementation, and study of evidence-based innovative models and approaches for improving the preparation and success of HBCU undergraduate students so that they may pursue STEM graduate programs and/or careers. The project at Bethune-Cookman University seeks to enhance undergraduate education in the biology department by developing a curriculum that focuses on quantitative expertise. Students will be taught how to work with large data sets to understand biological systems and to solve problems in biology. Assessment metrics that integrate quantitative literacy, scientific literacy and strategic learning will be developed as part of the overall evaluation of the project.

The goal of the project is to provide learning experiences for undergraduate biology majors to develop quantitative and computational skills for biological discovery and analysis. The project has two specific objectives: 1) to infuse data science competencies in research-oriented courses and 2) to develop three new courses. The project will infuse concepts of data flow, data analytics and data curation in a series of five research-oriented biology core courses. The new courses will be in the areas of bioinstrumentation, cloud computing and computational genetics. Bethune-Cookman University will undertake critical activities to create an adoptable model for core curriculum improvement in biology undergraduate programs. These activities include development and assessment of course resources and learning strategies; evaluation by students and faculty; disciplinary education research by students and faculty; and dissemination.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 349.88K | Year: 2016

Bethune-Cookman University is examining the effects of socioscientific argumentation learning and development on student success in STEM. The overarching purpose of the research is to investigate how to produce STEM graduates with argumentation expertise to address ill-structured problems that require scientific, evidence-based reasoning to inform decisions. The researchers will structure an intervention around units of biology and environmental science courses focused on scientific issues and conduct a three-phase research study. The Phase I pilot will determine the current argumentation level of STEM students and analyze the pilot data to identify gaps in effective socioscientific argumentation development. In Phase II, the researchers will develop and adapt a socioscientific argumentation learning training system for students. Phase III will be an experimental study to investigate the effect of socioscientific argumentation training on student outcomes. The significance of the study is that the findings can be used to provide students with skills and competencies needed for graduate school or the STEM workforce; namely, evaluation of evidence, construction of arguments, and evaluation of competing arguments.

The researchers will use a quasi-experimental design to answer three research questions: 1) What socioscientific argumentation strategies do the students currently use? 2) What gaps exist in effective socioscientific argumentation? 3) Does socioscientific argumentation instruction influence student outcomes? In Phase 1, they will use socioscientific issues at the nexus of food, energy, and water for questionnaires, written reports, and debates to collect data on students decision-making process, tendency to engage in arguments, argumentation levels, and quality of argumentative structures. The researchers will use several rubrics and socioscientific argumentation models to analyze data collected in Phase 1. They then propose to conduct a pre- and post- comparison of the quality of arguments on socioscientific issues between intervention and comparison groups. Measures of student academic success will be assessed from the dimensions of academic achievement, career success, attainment of learning outcomes, persistence, acquisition of skills and competencies, and satisfaction. The research will produce information needed to develop intervention models for improving scientific argumentation skills development of STEM students.

This project is supported by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) Broadening Participation Research in Education track. This program track supports ideas to create and study new models and innovations in STEM teaching and learning, investigate the underlying issues affecting the differential participation and success rates of students from underrepresented groups, and produce knowledge to inform STEM education practices and interventions.

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