Bruce H. Leslie, chancellor of Alamo Colleges, spent 40 minutes playing with his cell phone while onstage during a commencement ceremony on Saturday, the San Antonio Express-News reports.
Leslie’s cell phone usage took place as graduates crossed the stage – where he was sitting in plain sight of the audience — at Palo Alto College in Texas. Alamo is a system of community colleges in the San Antonio area.
Tony Villanueva, a psychology professor at Palo Alto College, told the Express-News that someone next to him timed it at around 40 minutes.
As photos published on Express-News’ website show, Leslie didn’t even try to hide it.
Leo Zuniga, an Alamo Colleges vice chancellor for communications, told The Huffington Post on Wednesday that Leslie has not shared a reason for why he was on the phone, or whether he was taking care of an emergency.
“The chancellor wishes to apologize if he offended anyone,” Zuniga said.
Zuniga could not confirm whether the chancellor was in fact on the phone for 40 minutes, or a shorter amount of time.
Much is made of how addicted teens and college students are to their cell phones, and certainly there could’ve been some playing on their phones during the ceremony. But they also weren’t onstage or in charge of the school.
Overall, 73 percent of Americans said in one survey that they would feel “panicked” if they lost their mobile phone.
Without Leslie’s comment, we’re only left to guess what he was doing on the phone. Our best shot is assuming he was trying to avoid being bored, since the Pew Research Center finds across all ages, that’s the most common reason for using smartphones.
But really, is it too much to ask that you keep your phone in your pocket during a special event like graduation?