African-American graduates were dragged/yanked off stage by a faculty member during the University of Florida's graduation ceremony.
W. Kent Fuchs, the university's president, issued a statement on Twitter that read, "During one of this weekend's commencement ceremonies, we were inappropriately aggressive in rushing students across the stage". Fuchs said the school has changed its practice for ushering graduating students.
An alumni wrote that she is 'completely disgraced at the treatment of these students who earned their spot on that stage'. Some students were enjoying their moment, dancing in their caps and gowns, until they were forcibly grabbed and shoved off the stage. The videos have caused immediate uproar, since it appears that the unnamed faculty member was only being rough with black graduates.
However, as one social media user pointed out: "What is conspicuously absent is a description of white students being allowed to "celebrate" on stage without getting pushed off of it". Every time a Black student took more than TWO seconds, he aggressively pushed them.
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"I feel like you waited so long, you paid so much money, you should be allowed to do what you want and be able to express yourself", said college student Laura Sanchez. They were among the students who celebrated their accomplishment by "strolling", a cultural tradition in historically black fraternities and sororities.
Videos were also posted on Facebook. ". It's a tradition to stroll at graduation if you choose to, and people have been doing this for years". Busted my ass to graduate with highest honors and they couldn't even make time to say my middle name, which carries family legacy.
The ceremony, held at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, also featured an address by State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser and student Chris Dowdy, who graduated Friday with a degree in mechanical engineering.