Advertisement
  1. Education

USF to graduates: No more selfies

iStockphoto.com
Published Apr. 24, 2014

In the coming weeks, graduates of the University of South Florida will be able to frame their diplomas — but not selfies of their strut across the commencement stage.

USF notified graduating students and placed an ad in the student newspaper this week asking them to refrain from inappropriate behavior, which includes stepping, strolling, marching or taking selfies with USF president Judy Genshaft when crossing the stage for their diplomas.

The announcement allows for a simple handshake. A professional photo will be taken of each graduate on stage with Genshaft during the ceremony.

"We want students to think about the dignity of the ceremony," said Michael A. Freeman, USF assistant vice president and dean for students. "It's supposed to be exciting, but it's a serious academic ceremony."

He said discussion about how to curb unruly behavior began last May. Selfies, he said, are just one potential disruption.

Students with the urge to snap a quick cellphone picture with Genshaft could face disciplinary action and the withholding of their degree.

"The last thing I want to do on someone's graduation day — which is supposed to be one of the best days of your life — is enforce some policy with a penalty or consequences," Freeman said.

USF student body president Will Warmke saw about 15 students take selfies with Genshaft at last fall's graduation ceremonies.

"I feel bad for the person behind the person taking the selfies because now they have to wait for their moment," said Warmke, 23, who graduates May 2 with three bachelor's degrees, in political science, criminology and interdisciplinary social science.

"I would love to have a selfie with president Genshaft," he said, "but there's a time and place for taking photos with the president that wouldn't hinder the graduation process with other students."

USF joins other universities in efforts to keep a reverent atmosphere at graduation. The University of Florida asked its graduates to turn off cellphones and other electronics before walking across the stage. Last week, Bryant University in Rhode Island announced a ban on selfies at graduation.

A total of 6,431 degrees will be awarded in USF commencement ceremonies beginning May 2. Fortunately for graduates, tossing mortarboards at the end of graduation is still allowed.

Colleen Wright can be reached at cwright@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8913. Follow her on Twitter @Colleen_Wright.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Colleen Beaudoin is selected Pasco County School Board chairwoman for 2020, and Allen Altman is named vice chairman. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Altman chosen as vice chairman.
  2. Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at pre-legislative news conference on Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    He’s got a new voucher proposal, as well.
  3. Pasco school bus drivers are among those school-related employees who would get a 3.25 percent raise under a tentative contract agreement for 2019-20.
    District, union attention now turns to teacher contracts.
  4. Teacher Kate Newell watches seventh graders Aaron Roxberry and Jacob Iovino practice the slope-intercept formula in one of her weekly visits to their Bayonet Point Middle algebra class, which Newell usually teaches remotely. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. eSchool teacher Kate Newell holds a discussion-based assessment with eighth-grader Ariana Toro during a recent visit to Bayonet Point Middle School. Newell leads the math course remotely most days, but comes to campus at least once weekly to give her students some extra attention. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Principals increasingly turn to virtual instruction to fill their vacancies.
  6. Damian J. Fernandez, center, is introduced Monday as the new president of Eckerd College. He will succeed longtime president Donald R. Eastman III on July 1. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Damian Fernandez, 62, will succeed president Donald R. Eastman III, who steps down June 30 after leading the school for 19 years.
  7. The Florida Department of Education has approved another alternate assessment for third graders to demonstrate they read at or above grade level.
    The state also reminds schools to let those who struggle that scholarships for help are available.
  8. Trump supporters yell and show the middle finger at hecklers during Kimberly Guilfoyle's speech in the University Auditorium at the University of Florida on October 10, 2019. Guilfoyle spoke about her childhood as a first-generation American, her experiences as a lawyer and her support for the Trump family.  CHRIS DAY  |  Chris Day
    Student senator Ben Lima explains why he’s pursuing the charges against Michael Murphy.
  9. A fledgling movement of parents and community members in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are speaking out about sex education in public schools. They say the curriculums are not explicit enough. And they worry that kids don’t have enough information — or that they get it too late — to protect themselves against the risks of sexual intimacy. [Shutterstock] SHUTTERSTOCK
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement