Silent Student Protest at Betsi DeVos‘ address at Harvard University


October 2, 2017

Last Thursday, at an address held by US American Education Secretary Betsi DeVos on school choice, a group of students staged a mainly silent protest, displaying signs and raising their fists. Only occasionally they cheered or snipped their fingers in support of other protesters.

Signs held up by the students addressed various issues, featuring slogans like “White Supremacist”, “Protect Survivors’ Rights” or “Our Students are not 4 Sale”. DeVos did not react to the protest during her speech, however she did take some questions afterwards.

The Education Secretary’s speech addressed the topic of school choice for parents and students which is supposed to offer alternative options to local public schools, like charter or private schools. Critics have claimed that the options of charter schools take important budget needed for public schools as well, and that school choice is used by large corporations ‘to make money off the backs of students’. Besides this issue being part of the students’ motives for protest, DeVos’ had recently revoked the Obama administration’s guidance for colleges on handling cases of sexual assault. She demands new rules on campus sexual assault to be ‘fair to all students’, the victims and the accused.

The demonstrations have not only been covered in articles online, but parts of DeVos’ speech and the ongoing protest have been recorded in video footage as well.

Photo: Reuters / Mary Schwalm (