This weekend, University of Florida students were participating in their graduation ceremony when they were dragged off stage for dancing –and it appears the Black students were treated more aggressively. Watch the video below:
Two students spoke to Good Morning America this morning. Oliver Telusma said, “In general, I don’t think I’ve ever been handled in that manner, not even by my parents. It’s kind of embarrassing, kind of degrading.”
Another student, Nafeesah Attah, explained the dances were symbolic gestures and tributes to their fraternities and sororities. She said the White usher who grabbed her and the others were doing it because they are Black, “It was definitely contingent on your race… other white students who were dancing were not perceived as a threat.” She also added, “I kind of planned what I wanted to do on stage to celebrate my story, all of my hard work I’d done at the University of Florida. 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. So I was definitely disappointed they took that moment from me because I can only get my bachelors once.”
See the clip below from Good Morning America.
The University of Florida has issued an apology, stating on Twitter, “We were inappropriately aggressive in rushing students across the stage. I personally apologize, and am reaching out to the students involved.”