University Of Florida Puts Lecturer Who Shoved, Grabbed Students On Leave
GAINESVILLE, Florida - The University of Florida has placed a lecturer who shoved and grabbed students during a graduation ceremony on paid administrative leave. Videos posted to social media over the weekend showed a man dressed in an academic robe grabbing graduates and pushing them while they were displayed on the Jumbotron at the school's basketball arena on Saturday. Witnesses said African-American grads appeared to be singled out.
School spokeswoman Margot Winick said Tuesday that the marshal, whom she refused to identify, is a lecturer in the chemistry department.
The Gainesville Sun reports that the marshal rushed about 30 graduating students through the commencement line, and pushed and shoved others. When some students who are members of historically black fraternities and sororities began performing choreographed movements representing each of their organizations, the marshal grabbed them aggressively and shoved them.
The University is proud of the achievements of every single one of our graduates and regrets that any celebration of the day may have been diminished by those monitoring a graduation ceremony.— FLORIDA (@UF) May 6, 2018
University President W. Kent Fuchs said in a statement that the school "failed" to create a commencement atmosphere where all students could celebrate equally.
On Monday, Fuchs apologized.
"We were inappropriately aggressive in rushing students across the stage," Fuchs said on Twitter on Sunday. "I personally apologize, and am reaching out to the students involved. The practice has been halted for all future ceremonies."
He also apologized while speaking at another commencement ceremony on Sunday.
Winick said the school is investigating the marshal's actions and its commencement policy.