• Group opposes plans to present Gov. Scott with Bethune-Cookman University honor


    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Some students, alumni and community activists are asking Bethune-Cookman University officials to stop plans to honor Florida Gov. Rick Scott with an award named for the school's founder.

    The Mary McLeod Bethune Leadership Award is the school's highest honor.

    When word of plans to present the award to Scott got out, a group of those critical of the idea started an online petition asking school officials put an end to those plans.

    "I was absolutely floored," B-CU graduate Jasmine Burney said. "The students, the alumni and the surrounding community are also in shock."

    Burney, who graduated in 2009, launched the petition to stop the award to Scott. She said that in the first two days the petition has garnered 550 signatures.

    She said she has gotten support from the county and state branches of the NAACP.

    School officials initially told Channel 9's Mario Boone that they intend to present the honor to Scott.

    "Gov. Scott was selected solely based on his support to this university," Noni Walker of BCU Public Affairs said.

    Hours later Boone said the school seemed to soften its position on the award.

    "Our leadership is certainly aware of the request and it is something that is being discussed," Walker told Boone.

    In a statement to Channel 9, a representative for Scott said the governor looks forward to accepting the award.

    The award is scheduled to be presented Oct. 21.

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