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)
University of Florida apologizes after black graduates were pulled off stage during graduation
The University of Florida apologized Sunday after several black students complained about the behavior of a white faculty member who pulled them off the stage during a commencement ceremony.
The students said they were celebrating their achievements by “strolling” – a cultural tradition among black fraternities and sororities – when the usher in question pulled them to move them along.
University President W. Kent Fuchs acknowledged the staffer’s “inappropriately aggressive” conduct after videos of the incident went viral.
“During one of this weekend’s commencement ceremonies, we were inappropriately aggressive in rushing students across the stage,” Fuchs tweeted, pledging to apologize personally to all students involved in the incident.
Fuchs assured parents and students that the hands-on removal process has been banned from all future ceremonies.
Oliver Telusma, a part of the university’s spring 2018 graduating class, told the Gainesville Sun that he was one of the students who was pulled by the staffer.
“I had just started … and he picked me up and turned me around, which I thought was kind of embarrassing and degrading to be handled in that manner,” Telusma, a member of the Beta Sigma chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, said. “It was just really uncalled for, especially for anyone not martially trained to do that.”
Telusma added that he had to shove the usher in order to break free of his grip.