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Monday, September 27, 2021
<p>UF sent framed diplomas to the <span id="docs-internal-guid-c0b4ab4d-7fff-dc65-2ac9-bee061acd0ce"><span>24 students who were</span> <span>rushed off stage during the Spring commencement ceremony.</span></span></p>

UF sent framed diplomas to the 24 students who were rushed off stage during the Spring commencement ceremony.

The marshal who was caught on video pushing students during a graduation ceremony has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to UF spokesperson Margot Winick. 

The employee in question was recorded shoving at least three black graduates while they walked across the stage. UF President Kent Fuchs said Tuesday that 22 students were pushed on Saturday. The incident occurred during the College of Liberal Arts and Science’s commencement at the O’Connell Center Saturday.

Winick wrote in an email Tuesday that the university is reviewing the incident to take “appropriate administrative steps.”

“Per University policy, UF will not confirm his identity, nor have further comment while the matter is under review," Winick wrote. 

UF president Kent Fuchs issued a statement online on Sunday, saying the marshal acted “inappropriately aggressive in rushing students off the stage."

Mackintosh Joachim, an 18-year-old UF psychology and women’s studies sophomore, said he doesn’t believe the the action achieves anything.

“I don’t think it’s a fair punishment because he was clearly targeting black students,” Joachim said. “I think that they are trying to protect him because they know what he did was wrong.”

Fuchs issued another online statement late Tuesday afternoon. In a video included with a release, he said 10 of the 11 graduation ceremonies were "glorious events."

"In one of those commencements... we failed," he said. "The University of Florida and I failed to provide an appropriate event for all of our students so that they could be celebrated, and that they could celebrate, their graduations." 

The university also announced a new task force in the same release. The initiative – co-chaired by Vice President for Student Affairs David Parrott and Student Body president Ian Green – aimed at redeveloping commencement practices. The program is still in search of a chief diversity officer, according to the release. 

Green, who was elected SG president in February, confirmed his role in the new initiative. He said he thought students needed more input in graduation practices. 

"I want to be thinking outside the box and making sure it's truly a celebration with the students in mind," Green said. "I think (Saturday) definitely shows that we have some challenges at UF that we need to work on together." 

Follow Morgan McMullen on Twitter @MorganMcMuffin and contact him at mmcmullen@alligator.org.

UF sent framed diplomas to the 24 students who were rushed off stage during the Spring commencement ceremony.

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