Demand the Resignation of UF Director of Commencements Stephanie McBride

Demand the Resignation of UF Director of Commencements Stephanie McBride

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Anthony Rojas started this petition to UF President W. Kent Fuchs and

On May 5, 2019, exactly a year after black students were manhandled at their own graduation, the College of Liberals Arts and Science was forced to cancel their commencement ceremony inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium after rain and lightning (that had been forecast a week earlier) impacted the celebration. Some students were forced to have their “graduation walk” take place in a tunnel inside the stadium (picture above). This incident is just the latest in a series of disappointing events that have plagued UF graduations for the past year all under the leadership of UF Director of Commencements Stephanie McBride.

Today, we are formally calling for UF Director of Commencements Stephanie McBride to resign effective immediately.

Eight months ago, in a meeting we cautioned Director McBride about having an outdoor graduation given Gainesville’s unpredictable weather. She reassured us that the days that were picked presented the least chance of rain. We pleaded with her to not gamble on the graduation memories of students and families as we have plenty of indoor venues capable of holding the ceremony. Additionally, earlier this week, when we became aware that weather could impact the ceremony we sought to have changes made but those in charge instead elected to simply “ride it out.” Director McBride did not listen and unfortunately it proved costly. The largest college at the University of Florida had their ceremony ruined all because of poor planing and decision-making. Sadly, no one can go back and give these hardworking graduates the proper graduation they deserved but those responsible can be held accountable.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, their graduates, UF families, and future graduates deserve better than this. Under Director McBride’s leadership a new graduation format was implemented that has been overwhelming unpopular with UF students and families. It should come as no surprise, given the widespread backlash, that no input from students and families was sought out in creating this new graduation system.

We have had three stadium graduations as a result of these changes and they have all been redundant at best, and a failure at worst. There was no more than 30% student attendance for either of the first two university-wide ceremonies and the largest college at UF was rained on during their ceremony today. We have spent $250,000 so far to reconceptualize commencement and it has been nothing short of a giant disappointment. We, as a student body, do not intend to have a repeat of last year’s graduation incident where no one was held accountable.

As the Director of Commencements at UF, it is your job to do everything in your power to ensure that students and families are treated to a graduation worthy of a graduate’s accomplishment. From not taking student and family input at the start, to graduations in Florida gym and the Reitz in Fall, to poor attendance at both university wide ceremonies, to The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences getting rained on at their graduation, we no longer have confidence in Director McBride’s ability to institute changes to better UF Commencement. She has ignored the will of UF students and families multiple times when it comes to graduation and time has proven her reluctance to listen costly. We believe new leadership is needed now to truly ensure that UF commencement ceremonies move in the right direction for the future.

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At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!