Howard University cancels graduation mid-ceremony after angry family members pound on doors and break window

News & Politics

A graduation ceremony at Howard University for nursing students ended in disruption and chaos after angry family members chanted “Let us in!” and pounded on the doors and broke a window after the auditorium closed after hitting capacity, according to the New York Post.

Many loved ones of students in the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences crammed into the Cramton Auditorium in Washington, DC on Thursday. But not all relatives made it to the location in time before the doors closed.

“I didn’t get to walk. I graduated magna cum laude and I didn’t even get to walk. I’m the class of 2020. I didn’t get to walk for my high school graduation and I didn’t get to walk for my college graduation.”

Video footage of those standing outside the auditorium showed people yelling “Let us in! Let us in!” as the ceremony started. Not only that, but the video also shows a window that was broken after loved ones pounded on the doors to be let in.

Some even tried to push past security to get inside.

The Hilltop reported that Dean Gina Spivey-Brown said the college was the largest graduating CNAHS class in Howard’s history. There were 280 degrees awarded.

The graduation website said that Cramton was meant to accommodate about three our four guests per graduate. The auditorium is able to hold about 1,500 people, and the event was not ticketed.

“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,” Spivey-Brown said to the crowd. Keynote speaker, Dwain N. Esmond, was asked to pause his speech.

One graduate, Halle Ragoonanan, said the incident was especially heartbreaking because she was unable to walk for her high school graduation in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“I didn’t even get to walk,” she said. “I didn’t get to walk. I graduated magna cum laude and I didn’t even get to walk. I’m the class of 2020. I didn’t get to walk for my high school graduation and I didn’t get to walk for my college graduation.”

Kalysta Henderson, a health sciences major from Riverside, California, said she was also heartbroken over the development.

“I feel completely devastated, I feel blindsided. I did not know it was going to be like this. My entire family flew out here,” she said.

“Howard is a very expensive school, and I have paid for it myself out of pocket and through loans just to stay here… today has just been completely devastating and heartbreaking.”

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