Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced an angry protest as she addressed students at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government on Thursday night.
Reuters reported that more than a dozen protesters waved banners reading “White Supremacist,” “Protect Survivors,” and “Our Students Are Not 4 Sale” during her “Conversation on Empowering Parents” forum alongside Harvard professors Archon Fung and Paul Peterson. Many other students reportedly stood with fists raised during her presentation, while other protesters cheered and chanted outside the event space.
Attendees began chanting “that’s what white supremacy looks like” as DeVos—who has previously had to walk back tone-deaf comments about historically black colleges, among other things—left the stage.
While DeVos largely ignored the protest during her presentation itself, opting to stay on topic and address the questions posed by students during the course of the event, Professor Fung did make note of the charged atmosphere toward the end of the evening, praising DeVos for having “a lot of poise and a lot of courage” while telling the crowd that:
I’ve been to many forum events, and this forum event there has been the most strongly held and widely held set of views that I’ve experienced in a forum. And I think that in a context like that conversations like we’ve just have had are very difficult. And I think we did a reasonable and good job of allowing this exchange.
This is far from DeVos’ first experience with campus protesters. Earlier this year, she was met with a chorus of boos by students at the historically black Bethune-Cookman University in Florida.