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HomeNewsHoward University Cancels College of Nursing Graduation Mid-Ceremony

Howard University Cancels College of Nursing Graduation Mid-Ceremony

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A picture of a Howard University graduation ceremony.
Source: Pinterest

In the spirit of graduation ceremonies ending abruptly or going badly, Howard University took it to a new level. This time, it wasn’t pro-Palestine supporters but rather family members. 

The university ended the ceremony an hour into the college’s graduation event, which happened on May 16, 2024. A group of individuals is seen outside the event hall, and a broken window is seen in the visual recording.

The event was set for 6 p.m., although guests arrived 2 hours before the starting time. This was confirmed by the student-run university paper named The Hilltop. It was a free-for-all event.

The Cramton Auditorium in Washington boasts a rather small capacity, as such, it only allows a handful of guests. Consequently, the historically black College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences graduation ceremony had to end before the main speaker could mount the podium.

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ALSO READ: Jerry Seinfeld’s Speech at Duke University’s Commencement Sparks Mass Walkout

The college’s dean, Gina Spivey-Brown, told the guest that the fire department had been called to shut down the event. The forced cancellation was primarily due to the space available and the uncultured behavior of the student’s relatives. 

The guest speaker, Spivey-Brown, was asked to end his speech just before he could start it. The assembly, following instructions, proceeded to vacate the hall. 

From the released recording, guests can be seen hammering on doors and shouting to be allowed inside. Some of the images later released show angry guests trying to force their way in through a broken glass door.

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Per reports, at least one person was injured during the rowdiness. According to some witnesses, the victim was a student who was seen receiving treatment for a cut.

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According to the fire authorities, they did not interrupt the ceremony. They claimed they were called to Cramton Auditorium by campus police for a medical emergency at 6:42 p.m. After assessing the patient and deciding against transport, D.C. Fire and EMS left.

In a statement released on Friday, the institution expressed regret for the postponement and promised to reassess its crowd management procedures.

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The institution stated that going forward, it will implement policies to prevent similar cases from happening again, which will improve the experience of attending graduation ceremonies.

In their own statement, the university asserted that someone was sent out of the premises before the ceremony. The reason they gave was that the person had initially left only to return and break a window. After this occurrence, all of the guests in attendance left right away.

ALSO READ: Phylicia Rashad Set To Step Down As Howard University Dean of College of Fine Arts

Graduate Halle Ragoonanan expressed her heartbreak at not being able to walk to earn her diploma in front of her family. This was particularly painful for her because she graduated from high school amid the COVID-19 outbreak. It happened at a time when the conflict in Gaza disrupted other graduation celebrations.

At Duke University’s graduating ceremony, dozens of students rushed out in protest of guest speaker Jerry Seinfeld, who has sided with Israel throughout the Gaza conflict and after Hamas’s October 7 massacre.

Following his introduction, the 70-year-old comic received both applause and jeers as students marched out of Wallace Wade Stadium on Sunday with flags in their hands and placards bearing the slogan “free, free Palestine.”

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