So today’s current annoyance is the treatment of students at their graduation at the University of Florida. If you’re unfamiliar, get acquainted.
I used that video first because it was one of the earliest reports I could find of the story, before it got picked up nationally. Contrast it with this one, post virality. Inserted now are suggestions of racial profiling; one of the students is quoted as saying that she found it ‘degrading’ and felt she was being treated like a criminal (!). Another one expressed ‘shock and disappointment’ at being treated this way in 2018. Question: are we talking about being pushed off stage or a plank?
The first story makes it clear it was several students and not just black graduates that were rushed off. It also discusses whether the dancing was unseemly at a graduation ceremony and the inappropriateness of the physical contact between the faculty member and students, but the latter report doesn’t bother to explore any of those topics. Instead it inserts racial undertones to give the story more of an unnecessary, polarizing edge. The first reporter presented two students with slightly opposing opinions while the other gave us lopsided vent sessions. Reporting Red Flag: if your only hearing one side of the story, you’re being patronized. Good reporting makes no assumptions and offers no judgement.
And finally, a logic exercise: is it possible that students strolling or dancing across the stage happened for the first time ever at this ceremony? Probably not. If not, why was the faculty member’s reaction so severe? Protocol? Nope, that ain’t it. So what are his reasons? We don’t know. The people responsible for finding out didn’t tell us, but what would you think if the previous ceremony ran long because of unencumbered celebrations and the staff member was then tasked with making sure that didn’t happen again? Which might explain why no other faculty member intervened when he began to shove students. His method was excessive. Could he have tried speaking to them? I’m curious to see how this plays out, but my guess is that UF is protecting him (by not releasing his name) because part of this was the school’s idea. Better to apologize than accept blame.
Last thought: 20 years ago, a young woman gave a speech at her college graduation…naked. She was not rushed off the stage.