University of Florida president apologizes after black students were rushed off stage

Monday, May 7, 2018
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University of Florida facing allegations of racism after black students were rushed off stage during commencement ceremony

MIAMI, Fla. -- The University of Florida is responding to allegations of racism after a white faculty member pushed minority students off stage when they started doing celebratory dances during a graduation ceremony.

Video shows the commencement celebrations being cut short. Some students were enjoying their moment, dancing in their caps and gowns, until they were forcibly grabbed and shoved off the stage.

The students were reportedly being rushed off stage for taking too long, but the university is facing backlash, accused of targeting only black students at the ceremony.

The graduates say they had planned their celebrations beforehand, and the dances had symbolic meanings in their fraternities and sororities.

"I planned what I wanted to do on the stage to celebrate my story and all the hard work I've done at the University of Florida. But I was instantly, like, blocked by the officials on stage," graduate Nafeesah Attah said.

Over the weekend, as backlash against University of Florida grew while the videos spread online, the university's president apologized at another ceremony.

"We inappropriately physically rushed a number of students across the stage during one of our commencements," said University of Florida President W. Kent Fuchs. "I want to personally apologize for us doing that on behalf of myself and the University of Florida."

The graduates say the damage has been done. They add that the apology is not enough, since the president was on stage at the time and did nothing to stop it.