Howard University Cancels Graduation As Family Members Smash Windows After Venue Reaches Capacity

Howard University Students Protest Living Conditions At Dorms On Campus
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25: An entrance sign near the main gate at Howard University October 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. Students have complained about mold and poor conditions in some dorm rooms and over 100 students have been staging a weeks-long protest to highlight the issues. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
9:20 AM – Sunday, May 12, 2024

Howard University has canceled their nursing graduation ceremony after family members began smashing windows and pounding on doors after being locked out due to the venue reaching full capacity. 

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Parents and family members of College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences students crammed into the Cramton Auditorium in Washington, DC, on Thursday; however, some did not enter the building before the keynote speech abruptly ended the ceremony.

Dozens of people can be seen chanting “Let us in!” as they stand outside the auditorium in chaotic video footage. Let us in!” the ceremony proclaimed. Images from the chaos revealed that a glass door had been broken as people tried to force their way past security guards and bang on the doors.

“While they were doing the keynote speaker, there was, like, loud banging, even before that, for like 10 minutes straight,” graduate Bria Flowers told NBC Washington. “Just like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”

School officials told students and their families mid-ceremony that the fire department had come to shut things down.

“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,” Dr. Gina S. Brown, dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, said.

However, D.C. Fire and EMS denied shutting down the graduation.

“D.C. Fire and EMS did not shut down tonight’s event,” the department said. “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.”

Howard reported that prior to the ceremony, someone was taken out of the building by security, who later came back and broke through the glass door outside the auditorium.

One student was discovered to have glass fragment cuts on their hands.

“This incident led to a disturbance among guests outside of the facility, resulting in a disruption of the program,” Howard’s statement said. “Guests in attendance were immediately dispersed following this incident.”

Individual awards were given to affected students on Friday and some of the other affected students were able to walk in the university’s main commencement ceremony on Saturday.

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