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Florida Roundup

5/11/18: UF Graduation Racial Controversy, Governor's Race


We begin The Florida Roundup statewide edition this week with a closer look at an incident at the University of Florida caught on video, that’s highlighted the divide over race in America.

Some University of Florida graduates who participated in a fraternity tradition during graduation last weekend say they were shoved and even manhandled by a faculty member.

The tradition for historically black fraternities and sororities is for members to dance across the stage while accepting their degree. But videos on social media show some of them being forcefully ushered offstage.

Video has also surfaced of the faculty member doing the same thing to white graduates. But observers say the videos seem to show the man giving white students more time onstage and being less aggressive with moving them forward.

UF President Kent Fuchs apologized for the incident on Twitter - and again at a UF graduation ceremony the next day.

The faculty member who got physical with the graduates was serving as a marshal for the ceremony. He has not been identified. The school says he is on paid administrative leave pending a review of the incidents.

Oliver Tolusma joined us from Gainesville. He’s a new University of Florida graduate who was physically rushed off the stage.

Charles Griggs of the 100 Black Men of Jacksonville and a WJCT contributor also joined us.

The Race For Governor

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran is term-limited out of office in November. The Pasco County Republican had long been expected to run for governor. But he announced Wednesday that he will no seek any office.  Instead, he endorsed Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam for governor.

In the Republican gubernatorial primary, that now leaves just Putnam and North Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis, who has the support of President Trump.

A new survey out this week from the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative finds more than forty-percent of registered Republicans and Democrats are undecided in the gubernatorial primary.

While the poll shows DeSantis and Putnam virtually tied, Democrats have more choices.

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has a one point lead over former North Florida Congresswoman Gwen Graham of Tallahassee. Further behind is Winter Park businessman Chris King. In last place is Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Lloyd Dunkelberger from the News Service of Florida and Miami Herald Tallahassee bureau chief Mary Ellen Klas joined us to discuss the governor’s race.

Sweetheart Jobs For Friends Of Gov. Scott?

As Rick Scott’s tenure as governor winds down, people loyal to his administration are being given state jobs that they appear to be unqualified for.

There’s been a bit of a house-cleaning at the Florida Department of Revenue. Long-time top employees there have been ousted - and their positions kept vacant for months - to make way for Governor's Office insiders who will lose their current jobs when Scott leaves.

Klas gave a list of examples in a recent Miami Herald article.