TAMPA — The University of South Florida has a message for new graduates who will cross the stage at next month's commencement ceremonies: Leave the mobile device in your pocket.
The university's Division of Student Affairs is warning students against inappropriate behavior at the ceremonies at the SunDome and elsewhere, including taking “selfies” on stage with President Judy Genshaft or other dignitaries.
“It slows things down a bit, and we don't think it's the right temperament for commencement,” said Dean for Students Michael Freeman. “We're appealing to students to be a little more respectable.”
The school sent a notice to all graduating seniors, and ads are being placed in the student newspaper requesting that students “refrain from inappropriate behaviors when you are on stage approaching President Genshaft and other dignitaries.” In addition to selfies, the message gives the thumbs down to “stepping,” “marching” and “strolling.”
The notice warns that scofflaws could face disciplinary action, including the withholding of the degree.
The University of Florida is also banning the on-stage photo ops and will make an announcement and have signs and a marshal to intercept any perpetrators at its ceremonies.
How ubiquitous has the cell phone quick-pic become? “Selfie” was Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year for 2013. Ellen DeGeneris' Academy Awards selfie became the most retweeted tweet ever, and Vice President Joe Biden's selfie of himself and the president in the back of a limo made a splash.
Officials from Eckerd College, the University of Tampa, and Florida State University said they weren't aware of any such bans at their schools.
Though onstage selfies are banned, offstage at USF, anything goes.
“The president is famous here for taking pictures with students any time they ask,” Freeman said.