The University of Florida apologized after an usher repeatedly dragged celebrating graduates offstage as they danced and grooved onstage while receiving their diplomas.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 7, 2018
University of Florida President W. Kent Fuchs apologized, saying the forceful ushering was in no way meant to detract from students’ achievements and he is extremely proud of the student graduates.
“Yesterday, I also want you all to know that we inappropriately physically rushed a number of students across the stage at one of our commencements, and I want to personally apologize on behalf of myself and also the University of Florida,” Fuchs said. The school has since changed that practice, he added.
— FLORIDA (@UF) May 6, 2018
“It’s a tradition to stroll at graduation if you choose to, and people have been doing this for years,” 22-year-old graduating UF student Christopher Garcia-Wilde told The Gainesville Sun. “I was actually too afraid because I saw him [the usher] shove other people,” he added. Garcia-Wilde also said his two friends were both pushed off stage and one had even been bear-hugged by the usher.
It was “embarrassing and degrading” to be handled so forcefully by the usher and the behavior was uncalled for, 21-year-old UF student Oliver Telusma said.
The university is looking further into the incident and the usher’s performance certainly was not in line with the school’s spirit and celebration of the graduates, UF spokeswoman Margot Winick said.