Outrage is growing after videos surfaced showing black graduates being dragged off the stage at a commencement ceremony on Saturday.
University of Florida students graced the stage to collect their diplomas over the weekend, and videos showing an usher shoving black students off the stage because they were "strolling." Twenty-two-year-old graduate Christopher Garcia-Wilde explained to the Gainesville Sun that strolling "is a cultural tradition in historically black fraternities and sororities... it's a tradition to stroll at graduation if you choose to, and people have been doing this for years."
But because of the aggression he witnessed by a graduation usher, Wilde was "too afraid" to stroll himself while collecting his degree.
UF Twitter 🗣🗣 Somebody please find out this employee’s name!! Every time a Black student took more than TWO secon… https://t.co/G4y6mXYHee— #HandsOffVenezuela (@#HandsOffVenezuela)1525555349.0
University of Florida President Kent Fuchs issued an apology following the ceremony, acknowledging that the employee was "inappropriately aggressive in rushing students off the stage."
"We will work to make sure all graduating students know we are proud of their achievements and celebrate with them their graduation," Fuchs said in his statement. He also called each of the affected students and offered them each a personal apology.
The University of Florida followed suit, issuing an apology on Twitter.
"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."
The University is proud of the achievements of every single one of our graduates and regrets that any celebration o… https://t.co/BsP5YU4vga— FLORIDA (@FLORIDA)1525570248.0
Some of the graduates shared their emotional reactions to the humiliating event on Twitter.
@ChicoFreedom Almost fell when he pushed me https://t.co/98meStYalY— thugger 🐢 (@thugger 🐢)1525561085.0
Graduate Nafeesah Attah, whose family came from London and South Florida to attend her graduation, was absolutely devastated.
"I tried to do one of my stroll moves, but I was instantly like blocked by one of the officials on stage and they aggressively pushed me off the stage after that," she told ABC News. "So I was definitely disappointed they took that moment from me because I can only get my bachelors once."
Oliver Telusma, a member of Alpha Phi Fraternity, was dragged off stage, and tweeted his desire to write about how "cavalier society can be with Black bodies."
I have a whole thing I wanna write on how cavalier society can be with Black bodies. https://t.co/vzCu8Rf1v2— Oliver Telusma (@Oliver Telusma)1525549547.0
Students and Twitter users shared their anger at the actions of the official. No action against the individual has yet been taken, however the university has launched an investigation.
So my brother @olivertelusma tried to stroll on stage in celebration of getting his degree, and got almost THROWN o… https://t.co/HCUfkijDYe— Marlo Stanfield (@Marlo Stanfield)1525617610.0
@UF Sickening. That white man was clearly discriminating and rough housing only the Black graduates. As an alumni a… https://t.co/aACUwew1CW— Traylo (@Traylo)1525571761.0
They earned their accomplishment, this was their day to celebrate, under no circumstance should this have happened.… https://t.co/YbHYtJJf12— Denise Shearin (@Denise Shearin)1525641045.0