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Howard University’s graduation ended mid-ceremony after attendees who were not allowed entry caused commotion.

According to ESSENCE, after the auditorium reached capacity. Therefore, the families who were left outside became agitated.

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Frustrated Families Wanted Entry

The loved ones of the College of Nursing and Allied Health Science graduates gathered at Cramton Auditorium to see graduates receive their diplomas. However, many were denied admission.

HU officials stopped allowing people inside to abide by the building’s fire code.

This upset the families who wanted to see their family members walk across the stage. As the procession of graduates began, people could be heard chanting, “Let us in! Let us in!” Additionally, some tried to force their way inside. During the keynote address, there was consistent banging.

Bria Flowers, a Howard graduate, told NBC 4 Washington, “There was, like, loud banging, even before that, for like 10 minutes straight. Just like boom, boom, boom, boom.”

As the ceremony continued, someone broke a glass door. Furthermore, this ultimately resulted in the graduation being canceled.

The Graduates’ Reaction

“I’m seeing my peers crying,” graduate Olivia Clines shared. Additionally, she stated her parents were able to enter the auditorium. However, “almost everyone around [her] didn’t have parents inside.”

The website for the ceremony reportedly said the auditorium could seat three to four guests per graduate. This would be on a first-come, first-served basis.

“All the families just wanted to see their kids,” Olivia added. She believes the families didn’t enter the building with the intention of causing chaos — they just wanted to witness the special moment.

Additionally, a Howard spokesperson, Lydia Sermons, said this was the largest graduation class in the institution’s history, which caused the space to reach capacity. Furthermore, the university has rescheduled the graduation for Saturday, May 11, at the Capital One Arena, per DC News Now.

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