Outrage after Black graduates yanked offstage during commencement

Unidentified University of Florida faculty member targets Black students who celebrated graduating (Image source: University of Florida)

If you have ever been to a college commencement ceremony, then you might have witnessed a few students celebrating when they walk across the stage. For some students, the realization that four years of study have come to an end and a degree awaits is a reason to exult. But at the University of Florida, one faculty member was having none of that when it came to a graduate of color.

On Saturday, as parents and students packed the ExactTech Arena they witnessed what many are calling an outrageous display of racism. As a few Black students tried to do a celebration dance when they received their degree, an unidentified White male faculty member grabbed them and aggressively moved them along. The faculty member singled out Black students and a few Latino students for this treatment.

Soon, social media was ablaze with pictures and a video of the faculty member’s actions. The incident was so outrageous that Dr. W. Kent Fuchs, president of the University of Florida, apologized with the following tweet:

“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 their graduation.”

There is no word on who the aggressive professor on stage was or why he decided to take action by himself. Video of the event can be seen below:

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.

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