Graduation day at a major university is a day, if there ever was one, for celebration. A ceremonial forum for exuberance. For a journey successfully concluded and momentum jumpstarted for the next life stage. And everybody has a back story, some more cathartic and empowering than others.
And yet, there was the University of Florida–as embarrassingly seen on prime time network TV and across social media–with a designated “usher” pushing, grabbing and bear-hugging newly-minted grads as they walked–or “strolled”–across the stage. There was concern, apparently, that some graduates were just too exuberantly self aware. A number of black students felt targeted by the de facto bouncer.
This was as shameful as it was stupid. UF, which will now change its practice of “ushering” graduating students, should welcome celebrations, including animated ones, of those who have just earned a degree from a prestigious university.
UF President Ken Fuchs has apologized, and the university will presumably usher in graduation- ceremony changes appropriate for those proudly celebrating a milestone achievement.