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07/05/2018 08:14 SAST | Updated 07/05/2018 08:27 SAST

Outrage After Celebrating Black Graduates Are Yanked Off College's Stage

The University of Florida’s president has apologized for what he called “inappropriately aggressive” behavior.

Bryan Pollard via Getty Images
Videos showing black college graduates being physically forced off of the University of Florida's commencement ceremony's stage has prompted an uproar on social media.

A day of joy and celebration spurred complaints of racism after a college graduation marshal pushed and propelled several black students off the commencement ceremony's stage, prompting an apology from the school.

The University of Florida graduates were walking across the stage on Saturday after their names had been called out when they took a moment to revel in their accomplishments while featured on the arena's jumbotron.

Videos taken at the ceremony show each individual performing a roughly three-second dance or wave before they were grabbed by a white man wearing a ceremonial robe and forced out of the jumbotron camera's view.

The videos posted on social media ignited an immediate uproar as people accused the man of specifically manhandling the black graduates.

University President W. Kent Fuchs, who attended the ceremony, released a statement on Sunday that apologized and called the behavior "inappropriately aggressive."

"I personally apologize, and am reaching out to the students involved," he said in a Twitter post. "The practice has been halted for all future ceremonies, and we will work to make sure all graduating students know we are proud of their achievements and celebrate with them their graduation."

The university also released a statement saying it "regrets that any celebration of the day may have been diminished" by the incidents.