Man accused of ‘selfish’ behaviour after proposing to girlfriend at her graduation

The graduate’s decision has been lambasted as ‘selfish’, with critics accusing him of making his partner’s life achievement ‘about him’

Kate Ng
Friday 21 July 2023 07:18 BST
Student proposes to shocked girlfriend in middle of her graduation ceremony

A man has been accused of “stealing” his girlfriend’s moment after he proposed to her while she was accepting her certificate onstage at their graduation ceremony.

A clip shared by Newcastle University showed the young woman walking across the stage after her name was called and shaking the presiding officer’s hand.

Before she can collect her certificate, however, a man who is also wearing graduation robes suddenly runs up to the stage from the audience and stands in front of her holding a ring box.

The grad appears visibly shocked in the video and steps back as the man gets down on one knee and asks her to marry him. While waiting for her answer, he turns and waves to the audience, who are on their feet and cheering for the couple.

After the woman says yes, he puts the ring on her finger and he gets up to hug her. Sharing the clip on Twitter, the university wrote: “There’s more than one way to make your day in King’s Hall memorable.”

The decision to interrupt the woman’s graduation to propose to her has divided opinions, with some describing it was “sweet” while others disapprove.

One person wrote: “I think this was super sweet and romantic. What a really special day to remember for them. Congratulations to her great achievement and success, and congratulations and best wishes to the beautiful couple!”

Another person said they witnessed the proposal in person and said: “I was in the room for this – what an amazing moment!”

However, many people thought it was “selfish” of the man to “steal” his girlfriend’s big moment from her.

“That poor woman. He stole one of the best moments of her life and there is no way she could have said no,” one person lamented.

Another added: “Men. Please don’t do this. Public proposals suck but taking a moment meant to celebrate your partner’s achievements and making it about you is particularly low.”

A third wrote: “Just awful. That poor woman had ‘her’ moment stolen from her. And also, what if she wanted to say no? Really difficult to do that in such circumstances. Huge red flags here.”

Several people criticised the university for celebrating the stunt on social media, with some opining that the staff and audience should not have stood and clapped for the couple as it may have put “pressure” on the woman to say yes to the proposal.

One person said it was “disappointing” that Newcastle University held the moment “up as something estimable”, while another said: “The more I think about this, the angrier I get. I hope all the staff at Newcastle University, in particular those academics applauding and hugging, have a good long look at what made them think this was to be celebrated.”

A commenter recalled a similar proposal taking place at their own graduation ceremony and said their university now “makes sure it never happens again” and does not post such moments on social media.

“He took away a moment for not just one of your students but the others there as well,” they wrote. “Don’t encourage diminishing your students’ accomplishments.”

The Independent has contacted Newcastle University for comment.

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