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    Howard University cancels graduation mid-ceremony after furious family members pound on doors, smash window

    By Isabel Keane,


    A graduation ceremony for nursing students at Howard University ended abruptly and in chaos after angry family members chanted “Let us in!” and pounded on the doors and smashed a window after being locked out when the auditorium hit capacity.

    Loved ones of students in the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences packed into the Cramton Auditorium in Washington, DC, on Thursday, but not all relatives made it inside the building before the ceremony was abruptly canceled during the keynote address.

    Chaotic video footage shows dozens of people standing outside the auditorium chanting “Let us in! Let us in!” as the ceremony began.

    Pictures showed a glass door had been shattered during the commotion as people banged on the doors and tried to push past security to go inside.
    Video showed people standing outside the auditorium banging on the glass windows and doors to be let in for the ceremony. Facebook
    A window was smashed during the mid-ceremony chaos. NBC

    “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.”

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    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 to a roaring response of boos.

    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.”

    1 hurt in chaos after Howard University nursing graduation ceremony reaches maximum capacity 📹: @Dream_Girl_MG

    — Allison Papson (@AllisonPapson) May 10, 2024

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    Students and their families were left shocked and upset by how quickly things got out of hand.

    “I’m confused why it got so crazy, how it got so quick, so bad so fast,” graduate Kiana Hamilton said.
    The ceremony for nursing graduates abruptly ended on Thursday during the keynote speaker’s address. NBC
    Family members who could not get into the ceremony tried to push past security. NBC

    Fellow graduate Halle Ragoonanan said the incident was especially heartbreaking for her and her family because she didn’t get to walk during her high school graduation in 2020 due to the coronavirus 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.”


    Other graduates lamented over how much money their families had spent to be there for their special day just for it to be canceled.

    This mother's day weekend Howard University shutdown graduation and blamed the families instead of taking accountability for poor planning. What did you expect when you have the largest graduating class and no headcount limit per graduate. Let them walk at commencement!

    — Dee (@darling_daphney) May 10, 2024

    “All the money we spent,” an unnamed student told the station. “My father and grandmother came down from North Carolina.”

    Howard said security removed someone from the building before the ceremony who returned and smashed the glass door outside the auditorium.

    One student was found with cuts on their hands from the broken glass.
    Some of the graduates were able to walk in Saturday’s ceremony. NBC

    “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.”

    Some of the affected students were able to walk in the university’s main commencement ceremony on Saturday, while individual awards were given out to students on Friday.

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