The end of the school year is a celebratory time, but a group of students at the University of Florida had their graduation ceremony turned into an ugly memory. Footage of a faculty member forcibly shoving graduates off stage as they stopped for a brief celebratory dance have gone viral because of how shockingly rough he is.
Many attendees who captured the footage and students believe the faculty member was targeting people of color:
He was unnecessarily rough, in my opinion:
And he was seemingly just as rough with the women as the men:
Students were upset to be manhandled at their ceremony, which they had worked very hard to get to.
There has been considerable outrage at the treatment of the graduates. Many of the dances were celebratory traditions from their fraternities and sororities. Some white students were also reportedly pushed off stage, but allegedly not as roughly.
Oliver Telusma, who was one of the students pushed, told WCJB, "Looking back after the fact, it's like kind of embarrassing that this is my memory of my college commencement at UF."
The school's president has written an apology tweet, and also called some students personally to apologize for the faculty member's behavior—though the man in the video has not been named.
During one of this weekend’s commencement ceremonies, we were inappropriately aggressive in rushing students across the stage. I personally apologize, and am reaching out to the students involved. (1/2)— W. Kent Fuchs (@PresidentFuchs) May 6, 2018
The practice has been halted for all future ceremonies, and we will work to make sure all graduating students know we are proud of their achievements and celebrate with them their graduation. (2/2)— W. Kent Fuchs (@PresidentFuchs) May 6, 2018
But others allege he was sitting right there and witnessing it:
There are people who say that the students pausing to celebrate were being inconsiderate:
Tbh, Greeks strolling on stage at graduation has always been annoying and inconsiderate. A little too rough by the staff at UF, but oh well. 🤷🏽♀️— My name is Bianca (@Bee_Mature) May 6, 2018
While this employee was extremely rude and did not allow people to celebrate a moment they worked so hard for, you might want to add video of everyone else, people of all races, who were also rudely pushed off stage if they took too long. No one was being targeted.— Sten (@stenferr) May 6, 2018
I’m just trying to figure out what these students thought was going to happen?— D. Dawson (@D_Liazon) May 7, 2018
I didn’t get this when i was younger but graduation is just about my personal journey or my family. It’s also about the university. It’s a time for their honor too. Be loud but walk and sit down. https://t.co/NZuAtsN8pl
Even if you think they should have known not to take extra time when their name was called, it's insanely inappropriate to grab someone's body and throw them around in a formal setting like a ceremony—or any setting outside of the ring!
And there are just as many people upset with the University of Florida:
.@UF ought to be ashamed of their suppression of students dancing when they walk on the stage at #ufgrad. If that’s how they wish to express themselves, let them. What’ll a few creative seconds do for your assembly line graduation ceremony anyway? Ridiculous. - an angry alumnus😡— Daniel Bowen (@dabowen01) May 5, 2018
Graduation is a day of celebration. I understand commencement protocols, but an educator should never aggressively put his or her hands on a student. Ever. @UF Students had negative experiences during their pinnacle moment. This is not acceptable! #ufgrad https://t.co/xbyEnYiqQs— Harrison Hove (@HarrisonHove) May 7, 2018
This sad!! Young adults go through years of worry, stress, and hours of doubts during there college years to achieve this moment, the 5 to 15 secs on recognition in front of family and friends, why would he ruin that!!— Zemon D Hayes (@KiddInfo) May 7, 2018
Some of the students spoke with Good Morning America about the experience, and how degrading it felt to be touched that way:
The University is proud of the achievements of every single one of our graduates and regrets that any celebration of the day may have been diminished by those monitoring a graduation ceremony.— FLORIDA (@UF) May 6, 2018
What do you think?