05.09.2018

Faculty Member Shoves Black Graduates Offstage, and the University of Florida Apologizes

Faculty Member Shoves Black Graduates Offstage, and the University of Florida Apologizes Photo by Zachariah Chou

A University of Florida faculty member who forcibly moved along black students as they danced onstage during a spring commencement ceremony has been placed on paid administrative leave, a university spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The faculty member, whom the university declined to identify, had served on Saturday as a platform marshal, a role that involves “monitoring the flow of graduates,” a university official said in an email.

Video of the event showed the faculty member approaching individual black students as they danced joyfully in front of a crowd of thousands, then physically moving them offstage. It showed some white students being hurried along, too, but in a less forceful manner.

In one case on Saturday, the marshal put both arms around a student, pulling him away.

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