The University of Florida’s apology has fallen short for the graduates whom an usher yanked off the stage this weekend as they danced to celebrate their achievements during a spring commencement ceremony.
“In general, I don’t think I’ve ever been handled in that manner, not even by my parents,” Oliver Telusma, one of the dancing students given the hook, told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” today. “It’s kind of embarrassing, kind of degrading.”
Another student, Nafeesah Attah, told “GMA” that the dances were symbolic gestures of joy that had meaning rooted to their fraternities and sororities. She said the response of the white usher who grabbed her and the others and shoved them off stage “was not arbitrary.”
“It was definitely contingent on your race… other white students who were dancing were not perceived as a threat,” Attah said.
University of Florida President Kent Fuchs acknowledged that the school had been “inappropriately aggressive” while rushing graduates across the stage Saturday, a videotaped incident that has stirred controversy online amid suggestions that the white usher was motivated by race because the students were black.
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