colleges

Fuddy-Duddy Functionaries Are Determined to Make Graduation As Joyless As Possible

School officials drag dancing graduates off stage and threaten cheering relatives with fines.

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UF graduation
University of Florida livestream

It's graduation season, and we have a couple of news stories to remind us what that's all about: fuddy-duddy functionaries scolding and browbeating people into celebrating the experience the way they're told.

At the University of Florida's massive graduation on Saturday, a faculty member whose job was to ensure a steady flow of 10,000 or so students across the stage was a bit overzealous. In about 20 cases, he physically grabbed and dragged students off the stage because they were dancing. And it wasn't like they were doing a big routine; the footwork may have added a second or two to their time on stage.

The outrage factor for this incident was high because the faculty member appeared to be focusing on black students. He attempted to hurry many students along, but he seemed to get physical only with black students. The University of Florida's president, Kent Fuchs, publicly apologized and said he has personally called every student who was manhandled to apologize. According to The New York Times, the unidentified faculty member was put on administrative leave, and Fuchs says he will make sure such behavior is not repeated at future graduation ceremonies.

As well it shouldn't. The part of graduation that schools want to rush through the most is the reason why everybody's actually there. Yes, the celebrating does make the longest part of the ceremony that much longer, but people who attend graduations know what they're about. If students and families don't want to sit through everybody else's stroll across the stage, they don't have to go.

A similar intolerance for joy was on display at a high school in Greenville, South Carolina, last week. During preparations for Greenville High School's June 4 graduation, officials warned students that their families could be fined up to $1,030 if they yelled too much at the ceremony. Or at all. The school literally ordered families to just sit there and shut up. This was on a slide shown to seniors at an assembly on May 1:

Since graduation is a dignified and solemn occasion, graduating seniors and their guests should behave appropriately. Please ask your guests not to call out, cheer, whistle, or applaud during the reading of names and presentation of diplomas.

The Citation for Family Members yelling out is $1,030.

If you're curious about how school officials can legally fine families for cheering, the good news is that they cannot. It was all a bit of a trick, The Greenville News reported. The graduation ceremony is taking place at a public arena under the jurisdiction of the Greenville police, who have the power to cite people for disorderly conduct but not simply for vocal exuberance. A spokesperson for the police department assured the public that there are no plans to fine graduates' families for cheering.

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  1. “The outrage factor for this incident was high because the faculty member appeared to be focusing on black students.”

    To be fair, when white students try to dance, the only moral response is to feel pity.

    1. I’m Mark Madsen and I approve this message.

      1. Are you really on the team, Chris Mihm?

        Batman plays more than you do.

    2. Especially if they bite their lower lip as they dance.

    3. To be fair, when white students try to dance, the only moral response is to feel pity.

      Agreed.

  2. The University of Florida’s president, Kent Fuchs, publicly apologized and said he has personally called every student who was manhandled to apologize.

    Now there’s a man with some Fuchs to give.

    1. “It rhymes with ‘douches’.”

    2. “It’s pronounced Fu[voiceless velar fricative]s, goddamnit!!! Fu[voiced velar fricative]s!! Fu[throat-rasping]s!! [choking sounds, followed by universal choking gesture]”

    3. Fuch him and his whole family.

  3. I’ll be honest. Graduation eventsare once if the most pointless boring affairs that can happen. I’d be overjoyed if we stopped expecting everyonetop have to attend these things. Choose that will never happen, because thenyou couldn’t have self important people drone at a captive audience that just wants to get their piece of paper and go drinking with friends and family already.

  4. Go Gatuhs! Corrine Brown’s speech never gets old.

    This comment brought to you by Unicorn Abattoir, proud member of Hihn’s enemies list..

    1. Holy crazyballs

    2. Sevo is authoritarian? Sure…

    3. The fuck is that??? Where am I?? After all the shit I have given Hihn? Man, he is gonna get it now.

      1. That’s the funny thing, I rarely engage the little idiot!

        1. Might I suggest ‘hihnsect’ as an appropriate descriptor?

      2. His main spaz-out on that page seems to be people claiming that he isn’t really Michael Hihn. So if you want the badge of honor of being on his enemies list, I suggest next time you see him show up in a thread you accuse him of not really being Michael Hihn. Double points, apparently, if you accuse him of being a Mary Stack sockpuppet.

        1. I’ve done it before and I’m not on the list. I’m disappointed in him now.

          1. Only now??

    4. There’s no s in gator.

    5. Mother FUCKER! “Mr. Gus” is listed, but Red Tony, my real name, is not? Incompetence! Incompemotherfuckingtence!

      1. You sound surprised, but really, what did you expect?

      2. Probably the first thing I think of with Hihn is competence.

      3. Probably the first thing I think of with Hihn is competence.

      4. Probably the first thing I think of with Hihn is competence.

    6. How did you good Hihn’s list?

      1. Never mind, I see he’s changed his profile link.

  5. The part of graduation that schools want to rush through the most is the reason why everybody’s actually there.

    My daughter graduated from UCF last Friday, probably a similar sized crowd. Let’s be honest: we are all there to see our child graduate and hope the other 9,999 kids haul ass off the stage. There were only two excessive celebrations I noticed, one was a kid doing a 5-second jig and the other was the kid who did a back-flip. I have no problem with the kids having a little fun, especially if it is the first time a member of a family has graduated from college.

  6. Can we have some kind of happy medium between the joyless and the narcissists?

  7. a faculty member whose job was to ensure a steady flow of 10,000 or so students across the stage… the footwork may have added a second or two to their time on stage

    So, only the potential to add 5.5 hrs. to the whole affair not to mention all the opportunities for wardrobe malfunctions and inappropriate gestures. If you want to dance, go to Juilliard. If you want more time on stage at graduation, go to a smaller school. I’m embarrassed that he had to do what he did.

    The celebratory pomp of graduation is the same credentialist bullshit that Reason normally rails against. You’ve had 4 yrs. (or more) to party, get a job, host your own party. Non-conformist behavior while taking part in the ceremony that verifies your conformity is retarded. Might as well strip down to your underwear.

    1. No, you do that for your thesis.

      1. Or save it for the LP convention.

    2. Any graduation ceremony that involves 10,000 people getting diplomas in one ceremony is poorly planned to begin with. The diploma ceremony for a school that size is better done by department/school/etc. With the speechifying and cap throwing and stuff done at a stadium type ceremony.

  8. The outrage factor for this incident was high because the faculty member appeared to be focusing on black students. He attempted to hurry many students along, but he seemed to get physical only with black students.

    Trump’s AmeriKKKa

  9. …the footwork may have added a second or two to their time on stage.

    THOSE SECONDS ADD UP AND I HAVE THINGS TO DO.

    1. I refuse to believe that you haven’t seen a poorly officiated hockey game. Obviously, it doesn’t start out poorly officiated and the poor officiating isn’t every single tick of the clock and every single call and ultimately, the penalties don’t really prolong the game. The problem is, the officials let enough go early on that, by the end, everybody’s clipping, boarding, and high sticking everyone they happen to skate by and nobody’s even playing hockey anymore. So, in conclusion, they should’ve just given these kids 2 min. in the penalty box.

      1. Nope, butt-end to the groin solves it right away.

    2. 10,000 students. Every extra second someone take delays everyone in line behind them by that much more. While the idea of people ‘having fun’ across the stage seems harmless, when there are 9,567 people in line behnd you, your extra 2 seconds sends quite a shock wave of delays that add up, especially for the last 10%.

  10. School officials drag dancing graduates off stage and threaten cheering relatives with fines.

    I’d like to see them enforce that.

  11. How do school’s expect to enforce fines on non-students?

  12. Time is money and these kids are not paying one cent toward school official’s salaries until the start having that money stolen from their paychecks.

    Hence, the rush to get those kids working!

  13. Our faculty threatened to “hold the diplomas” of the graduates of any family who yelled/cheered. I don’t recall it having any real effect. But 1998 was a simpler time, when Bill Cosby was beloved and Donald Trump was ignored.

    This was also high school and there were like 300 kids in the class.

    1. Come to think of it, I never realized how sad(?) it was that so many parents in my high school wildly celebrated a kid graduating high school.

      1. how sad(?) it was that so many parents in my high school wildly celebrated a kid graduating high school.

        It’s one step closer to the kid getting out of the house.

        1. ^This^ was certainly the reason my parents were happy when I graduated HS. I was the youngest, so I after me it was “empty nest” time.

      2. Those wild celebrations happened at my middle school graduation. As my mother the cynic put it, “those are the parents who won’t be attending any more graduations”.

      3. Because it’s an accomplishment, a rite of passage that they fulfilled, especially when they have the ability to legally stop going if they wanted to. High school seems so “normal” and “routine” to us that we don’t really give it any more thought. People are proud of their kids when they start becoming adults. Walking and talking doesn’t seem like a big deal, but parents seem to get excited when their kids start doing it.

        My point is, while the wild celebrating can be annoying, I don’t think it’s totally fair to write it off as “sad”.

  14. Seriously, cut all the speakers before and after graduation. They are all fucking worthless. At this point I’ve been to many graduations, 4 of my own even. No one cares about the speakers.

    This isn’t discussed because they’re a chance for a University to make a rich guy feel special. But no one cares.

    1. Some speakers are popular with the students.

      1. Then let the students vote to choose them, with an option to have no speaker.

    2. Seriously. My son will be graduating this year and I’m not looking forward to the ceremony.

    3. Kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school? That makes four.

      1. Look at Mr. Fancy-Pants going to kindergarten.

      2. Philly had graduation ceremonies for the kids leaving the soda tax pre-kindergarten program. It would be totally wrong to conclude that, for many parent, this would be the only graduation they’d ever have a chance to attend.

    4. At this point I’ve been to many graduations, 4 of my own even.

      Holy shit you’re part of the problem. Do you show up to baseball games and complain about who they choose to sing the anthem and throw out the first pitch too?

      1. Only time I go to baseball games is when my family wants me to. And I am pleasant there. Same for Graduation. My family wanted me to go so they could go, so I oblige.

      2. If they choose some jackwagon who stretches a 1:40 song into a six-minute “LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEE” fest, then yes, complaint registered.

    5. Now we know where BUCS goes to pick up chicks.

      1. My record is 0/4 but I chalk that up to statistical noise.

  15. 10,000 students, and a second or two, says Shackford. To be fair, if D’Shizzle and Jazzarinia get two extra seconds to show off their terpsichorean skills, so should everyone else. Carlos and Yulia and Sven and Elke deserve their extra time for folk dancing as well.

    Two seconds * 10,000 students is 20,000 seconds and adds up to about 5.5 extra hours of boredom for people who just want to see their kid get handed a sheepskin and get the hell out of there.

    Maybe just keep ’em moving and cut it as short as possible in consideration of the audience.

    1. They dont graduate 10000 together, they do it by college or department, i.e., business, engineering, arts, etc. So, hundreds, not thousands.

  16. Or maybe just skip graduation?
    It’s not like it’s required, right? None of mine were and I deeply regret the one (high school) I attended.
    Who wants to watch 10k ants hustle across a stage to grab a piece of paper?

    1. I agree. My point above, though I did not make it clear, was more that they are hyper-optimizing on the students, rather than trimming the other major pieces of fat.

      1. It’s all dysfunctional, any trim is a move in the right direction.
        But seriously, who wants to be part of a faceless crowd of thousands?
        The scene from The Wall for We Don’t Need No Education captured graduation ceremonies perfectly. A conveyor belt moving plastic product from one stage to the next.
        (Maybe schools should use conveyor belts for grads in the ceremony?)

      2. hyper-optimizing on the students

        Again, 2s each at 10,000 students is over 5.5 hrs. Like Shirley, I only went to my HS graduation and was less than impressed with the whole affair. You could’ve tripled the total number of speakers and not reached 5.5 hrs.

        1. I can only speak for my school, but we had about 2 hours of speakers. That’s real time used. Your fear is that we see 2 out of 10,000 doing something, then saying what if everyone did it. That’s a possible fear, but does not seem to be practical.

  17. He attempted to hurry many students along, but he seemed to get physical only with black students.

    Maybe … because he was … black?

    1. Umm, what videos were you watching? The faculty member in question was the guy in the blue robe with orange stripes on its sleeve, manhandling people off the stage. He was clearly white.

      One could argue though, based on this short 20 second video, that the “kids” who were dancing the most were black, and perhaps that’s why he appeared to only manhandle them (of course just pointing out that the most over the top dancers were black is probably itself “racist”). Whatever his motivation, it was kind of dumb to be physically grabbing people like he did. He probably could have gotten the same result by simply taking them by the elbow or something and politely reminding them to get out of the way of the next person in line.

      1. Why is race always the issue? Assault is assault and i suspect nothing in a public university handbook waives a student’s right to not be touched without consent.

        “Do you consent to me stroking your hair and kissing you?”

        “No.”

        “How about if i you grab you and push you off the stage?”

        “Have at me, big boy!”

        1. But it’s ok when authority figures violate your rights! Just go ask Uncle Sam, he’s fat vampire over in the corner draining your kid.

  18. The outrage factor for this incident was high because the faculty member appeared to be focusing on black students. He attempted to hurry many students along, but he seemed to get physical only with black students.

    I’d need to see more than just the ~20 second clip here to conclude that they were specifically focusing on only the black kids and play the race card. But that’s just me, a white male cis-gendered hetero shitlord.

  19. Both my sons’ PRESCHOOLS had graduation ceremonies. I suspect this is for the parents, who can celebrate not having to pay $20K/year

    1. OK that is ridiculous. I have a teen and a tween and haven’t been to a graduation for them yet. I like your theory. Of my four graduation ceremonies I only attended the one that cost my parents a pile of ca$h.

  20. The last chance the faculty will have to control the lives of the students. What else would you expect other than physical abuse?

    At least they got on the stage. At Va Tech 1970, it was “will all the undergraduates from the college of business please rise” *applause* “thank you, you may be seated”. That was it for four years. You got the actual diploma by standing in line at the gym to turn in the rented robes.
    On the other hand, we kept firearms in our rooms, and open carried on campus. And no one was shot in the whole four years I was there.

  21. I thought my college graduation was the worst. I had Howard Zinn as the commencement speaker. Parents were walking out of their own child’s graduation. But these graduations were worst. At least Howard Zinn never tried to grapple with me.

  22. This has to be one of the most idiotic Reason articles ever. If each dance adds just 2 extra seconds for that size ceremony, the added time might be 5.5 hours! I think somebody else pointed this out. It’s incredibly rude and they probably should have been given a kick in the ass. This is only an issue because some people want to be whiny bitches and treated special because of their skin color.

  23. A little tired of white people being forced to accept black culture. Graduation is a serious, austere event and should be treated with reverence. That’s our culture. If you want to swing your arms and legs around then go to a playground and jump on the monkey bars.

  24. These people aren’t “fuddy-duddy”. They’re just plain evil… ready to suppress anyone who expresses joy in their presence. We’ve all seen these types.

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