UF apologizes after black grads were shoved off stage for making a scene, but what about white kids?

[sharenow]

In a story that may say more about the hypersensitive state of race relations in post-Obama America than it does about racism, the University of Florida finds itself at the center of a controversy over a faculty member hurrying along students as they walk across stage to receive their diplomas.

Without question, the white male responsible for the aggressive behavior went too far in his presumed task of keeping graduates moving, physically grabbing students when they paused to celebrate, but his aggressiveness did not appear to be reserved for just black students, as he was “seen hurrying students of all ethnicities along as their names are called,” the Daily Mail reported.

But when the white faculty member grabbed black students, some were unable to see beyond skin color. A number of videos capturing these moments were posted on social media, with several examples seen below:

The video clips prompted plenty of allegations and exaggerations, with the national media jumping on the story. While the man on stage appeared to be reacting to any student who paused to display joy, it became an issue of race because people made it an issue of race, whether the facts support that assertion or not.

However, as one social media user pointed out: “What is conspicuously absent is a description of white students being allowed to ‘celebrate’ on stage without getting pushed off of it.”

As with any claim of racism, the University of Florida was quick to respond.

“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,” the school’s Twitter account posted.

University President W. Kent Fuchs, who was in attendance, also tweeted out a statement on Sunday for the “inappropriately aggressive” behavior.

“During one of this weekend’s commencement ceremonies, we were inappropriately aggressive in rushing students across the stage. I personally apologize, and am reaching out to the students involved.

“The practice has been halted for all future ceremonies, and we will work to make sure all graduating students know we are proud of their achievements and celebrate with them their graduation.”

But the reaction online was not too forgiving, with social media users pointing out that Fuch was there and did nothing to stop the behavior.

https://twitter.com/damnfay/status/993326908304711680

As is often the case, there was a concerted effort to identify who this man was and to ensure that he was punished — guilty or not.

https://twitter.com/1KingRat/status/993434330868436992

There are two sides to any issue, and while no one condones the aggressive actions of the faculty member, some on social media think the grandstanding graduates had a responsibility to themselves and their classmates that was not lived up to.

Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter that puts the onus on the students.

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[sharenow]
Tom Tillison

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