The University of Florida came under fire over the weekend, after recordings taken during the school’s year-end commencement ceremony went viral amongst members of the public who grew outraged over the way they saw some of the Black graduates being treated.
Many of the roughly 10,000 fresh-faced alumni who crossed the Exactech Arena stage at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Sunday (May 6), did so in style, with some stopping to pose for awkward selfies, others doing dance moves, skips, and flips, and one gentleman even kneeling down to propose to his girlfriend. There were also several instances in which the ceremony’s marshall got rough while moving to rush exuberant grads off – and in each of those cases, the students happened to be Black.
Myesha Senior had plans to celebrate before her Jamaican flag-waving family by doing a Usain Bolt dash pose, but the moment was ruined when she was suddenly manhandled by the marshall. “I tried to do it really fast. I saw the guy coming toward me … and when he pushed me, I almost fell, and I caught myself. But he pushed me so far that I passed the lady’s hand that I was supposed to shake,” she reportedly told The Washington Post of the moment.
Similar actions were taken against Nafeesah Attah, who was nearly knocked over while going to flash a Delta Sigma Theta hand gesture, and to Oliver Telusma, who wound up having to wrap his arms around the marshall to keep from tipping over due to the way he was rushing him along. University President Kent Fuchs would later take to Twitter to apologize. He has also contacted each of the alum seen in the videos to express his regrets personally. Fuchs confirms that the marshall is being investigated.