During a graduation ceremony at the University of Florida, Black students dancing and enjoying their moment in cap and gown were forcibly pushed off the stage by a white faculty member.
In a video that has gone viral, a white faculty member can be seen grabbing graduates as their names are called to walk across the stage and collect their diplomas. The students are seen dancing and many have claimed that Black students were largely targeted.
The school is under fire for targeting black students for their celebratory stage dance and the viral video has caused widespread backlash and outrage from parents and alumni.
University of Florida president Kent Fuch issued an apology on Twitter early Sunday morning saying:
“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.
“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 at their graduation.”
One Twitter-user wrote: “Every time a Black student took more than TWO seconds, he aggressively pushed them.”
An alumni wrote that she is “completely disgraced at the treatment of these students who earned their spot on that stage.”
Todd Simmons, a 1985 graduate called the school out for the aggressive tactic.
“I appreciate your candor. I [would] also respectfully suggest an inquiry is in order regarding how such a “practice” came to be approved & carried out in the 1st place, w/ what appear to be clear racial differences, in front of thousands. The vids are disturbing,” he wrote. Simmons is also Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations at North Carolina A&T State University.