Black college students 'aggressively' pulled off Florida graduation stage

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Students have said they were "observing a long-held tradition among black fraternities and "strolling" after getting their college degrees" when they were manhandled.

University of Florida President Kent Fuchs acknowledged that the school had been "inappropriately aggressive" while rushing graduates across the stage on Saturday as video of the incident stirred controversy online.

Some students and those in the audience shared their experience on Twitter.

Oliver Telusma and Nafeesah Attah, both UF graduates, were on ABC News' "Good Morning America" Monday to talk about the way an usher yanked them off stage in front of Fuchs.

Students who were at the commencement ceremony say it's hard to accept University of Florida President Kent Fuchs's apology, because he witnessed the mistreatment of students and did nothing to stop it. Fuchs said the school has changed its practice for ushering graduating students.

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Southwest Airlines also tweeted about the incident in response to a passenger. 'Guess that makes me an airplane crash survivor'. An ambulance was at the scene, but according to passengers, no one was injured. "We will do our best to get you going asap".


"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 on Sunday.

"He picked me up and turned me around, which I thought was kind of embarrassing and degrading to be handled in that manner", he told the newspaper. He also apologized in person at another commencement ceremony.

Almost 10,000 students are graduating from the University of Florida this spring, he said. "I tried to do one of my stroll moves, but I was instantly like blocked by one of the officials on stage and they aggressively pushed me off the stage after that".

Throughout Saturday's two-and-half-hour graduation ceremony the man, who has not been named by the school, is seen hurrying students of all ethnicities along as their names are called.

Margot Winick, a University of Florida spokesperson, told the newspaper that "the university just regrets that the acts of those who were monitoring the lineup could dampen the spirits of the day". Video shows the commencement celebrations being cut short.

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