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Howard University cancels graduation mid-ceremony after family members smash windows over entry issues
Featured Image Credit: YouTube/NBC4 Washington

Howard University cancels graduation mid-ceremony after family members smash windows over entry issues

Attendees were left furious that they would not be able to see their loved ones special moment

A graduation at Howard University descended into chaos when the auditorium hosting the ceremony reached capacity.

Cramton Auditorium had quickly filled up as people came to watch graduates from the College of Nursing and Allied Health Science walk across the stage.

But many attendees were left furious after they were locked out of the venue when it reached capacity.

Some even tried to push their way into the auditorium, reportedly chanting 'let us in! let us in!'.

Reports have also claimed that a window was broken in the confusion.

Graduate Bria Flowers recalled hearing people banging on the doors.

She told NBC: “While they were doing the keynote speaker, there was, like, loud banging, even before that, for like 10 minutes straight.

“Just like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”

The ceremony descended into chaos. (NBC 4 Washington)
The ceremony descended into chaos. (NBC 4 Washington)

The Dean of the Nursing School, Gina Brown, said at the ceremony: “Because of the size of the room and because our relatives sometimes do not know how to act, the fire department is now here to shut us down.”

However, the fire department has denied that it shut down the ceremony, saying that they responded to a medical incident.

A statement from the department said: "D.C. Fire and EMS did not shut down tonight’s event.

“At 6:42 p.m., we responded to the Cramton Auditorium for a medical local at the request of campus police. The patient was evaluated and refused transport, and D.C. Fire and EMS departed."

The ceremony had been due to go ahead between 6pm and 8pm on May 9.

Information on the event's website clarified that the event would not be ticketed and seats would be allocated on a 'first-come, first-served basis'.

Attendees were left furious that they would not be able to see their loved ones special moment.

Father Shurland Layne was denied entry, and told ABC: “We traveled so far to come here to stand in the rain, and can’t even get inside. Now you’re going to stand here and say ‘oh, it’s full to capacity.’ That’s not right."

A window was smashed. (NBC 4 Washington)
A window was smashed. (NBC 4 Washington)

Meanwhile single mom Chantell Fletcher explained that she had gotten up at 5am to see her daughter graduate.

She said: “It’s very upsetting. I’m a single parent, I worked very hard to put her through this school just to not be able to see her walk.”

As per ABC7, a spokesperson for Howard University said in a statement: "The outpouring of support from families and loved ones has been tremendous, resulting in capacity challenges at our campus venues. Along that vein, we apologize wholeheartedly for the challenges experienced during our College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences (CNAHS) Honors and Awards Ceremony. "The overcrowding at Cramton Auditorium significantly impacted the guest experience. To rectify this, we will formally recognize our College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences graduates at the Capital One Arena tomorrow, May 11, following our Commencement Convocation."

Attendees were left furious that they would not be able to see their loved ones special moment. (NBC 4 Washington)
Attendees were left furious that they would not be able to see their loved ones special moment. (NBC 4 Washington)

"Looking forward, we are committed to implementing measures to better manage crowd capacity and enhance the graduation ceremony experience. Your understanding and patience during this time are greatly appreciated."

It added: "Despite the challenges, we must recognize the magnitude of this moment. Our higher retention rates have led to historic graduation rates and a phenomenal turnout. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to our graduates on your remarkable achievements. Your hard work, dedication, and perseverance have culminated in this proud moment."

On Saturday (May 11), the graduates were rewarded with a special ceremony at Capital One Arena.

UNILAD has reached out to Howard University for comment.

Topics: News, US News, Education