diploma

A framed diploma given to one of the graduates rushed off stage.

Thousands of people watched 24 people get rushed off the stage at graduation in May, now UF is trying to make it up to them with a gift.  

UF mailed framed diplomas to the students who were rushed off stage during the Spring commencement ceremony, said Stephanie McBride, the director of commencement. They were sent as an apology and a reminder that the university “appreciates and celebrates them.”

In addition to the framed diplomas, UF President Kent Fuchs reached out to all of the students by phone and with a personal mailed letter, McBride said.

The frames cost $3,920 in total. UF spent $148.75 per frame for 24 of the frames and $175 per frame for two of them, however they were all the same frame, she said. The price discrepancy was because the first 24 were bulk purchased, and the last two were bought later when UF realized two students were double majors.

Two students called UF to thank the administration for framing their diplomas, McBride said.

Jamal Waked, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in physics, said he is happy with his framed diploma.

Waked wasn't upset about the Spring commencement incident because he had already landed his backflip when the marshal came to rush him off the stage, he said.

“I didn't feel an apology was needed for me, but for others I can understand the apology,” the 22-year-old said.

He said some students were unfairly moved off stage and were upset, so it is a nice gesture from UF to let the students know that they aren't just a name.

“I think it's noble that UF is able to realize their mistakes and correct them,” he said.

Oliver Telusma, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in political science, said he is unsure if this was an attempt to make amends, but if it was, it isn't nearly enough.

UF’s response to the Spring commencement incident wasn't only an offense against him, but a clear statement of how UF regards communities of color, he said.

“Resolution comes from not only substantive efforts to make amends with me, but with marginalized students who experience a climate like this regularly,” the 22-year-old said.

Contact McKenna Beery at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @mckennabeery.