UF President Kent Fuchs announced Saturday that a new executive order would ban all alligators from UF’s campus and effectively “drain the swamp.”
In an April Fools’ Day Facebook video, which received about 450,000 views, Fuchs declared alligator statues, Gators merchandise, the Gator Chomp and the Rowdy Reptiles would be banned from UF.
“We’ve all worked hard over the past two years to make our campus inviting, supportive and friendly,” Fuchs said in the video posted on UF’s social media pages on
Saturday. “The image of the swamp, and Gators, does not convey the message that I want associated with our great university.”
Last April Fools’ Day, UF spent $9,000 in private funds to make a series of videos announcing that UF and Florida State University would be merging, WUFT reported.
This year, Fuchs’ April Fools’ Day joke didn’t cost anything, said UF Spokesperson Steve Orlando.
No money was required for traveling, and a video team from the UF College of Journalism and Communications shot the announcement for free.
Around noon, UF released a second video with Fuchs rescinding his executive order and wishing everyone a happy April Fools’ Day.
UF College Democrats member Daniella Mora said she thinks some students may have perceived Fuchs’ joke as poking fun of President Donald Trump, who frequently used the term “drain the swamp” during his campaign speeches.
“I do see how some students would have taken it as a form of mockery,” the 19-year-old UF telecommunication freshman said.
Fuchs could not be reached for comment.
Contact Molly Vossler at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @molly_vossler