The University of Florida’s has issued and apology after an usher is recorded on video shoving black strolling students off the stage this weekend during a spring commencement ceremony. The celebration is known as “strolling” which is a cultural tradition in historically black fraternities and sororities.
Nafeesah Attah, a UF student says the dances are symbolic gestures of joy with meaning rooted to their fraternities and sororities.
“It was definitely contingent on your race … other white students who were dancing were not perceived as a threat,”
Another University of Florida graduate Christopher Garcia-Wilde also said the usher appeared to shove only black students who wanted to celebrate on stage.
“It’s a tradition to stroll at graduation if you choose to, and people have been doing this for years,” Garcia-Wilde, 22, told The Gainesville Sun Sunday. “I was actually too afraid [to stroll] because I saw him shove other people.
“But my two friends who graduated with me really wanted to do it, so they tried. They both were pushed and one of them got an entire bear hug,” he added.
The usher has not been identified. But Twitter user @Sheisjk_ claims that a recent search on Twitter revealed the usher to be Alexander David Jacobs.
University of Florida President Kent Fuchs apologized for the staff member being “inappropriately aggressive” during another commencement ceremony Sunday.
“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.” Fuchs said.
Fuchs said the hands-on removal process would be banned from future ceremonies.
“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,” Fuchs said.
The university is investigating the matter.