Howard University Graduation Abruptly Canceled Mid-Ceremony as Family Members Smash Windows After Venue Reaches Capacity

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Howard University’s graduation was canceled mid-ceremony after angry family members demanded to be let in despite the auditorium reaching its capacity. 

Shattered glass

Illustration. Shutterstock

Relatives of the graduates at Howard University College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, who were granted access, started shouting, demanding to be let in the Cramton Auditorium in Washington, DC. Once they realized that was not happening, some began smashing windows. 

Ten minutes of banging 


A Howard graduate, Bria Flowers, told NBC 4 Washington that the banging lasted 10 minutes. Despite the noise, the ceremony continued until angry relatives began smashing things, including a glass door. Not only was graduation canceled, but according to reports, at least one person was injured.

The fire department to the rescue?


Dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences Gina Brown said the fire department was called to shut down the graduation. However, the DC fire department said they did not shut down anything, though EMS came to help the injured person. They said the police called them.

Captured on camera 

Illustration. Image credit: Shutterstock

The incident involving around a dozen relatives was captured on phones, and the clips are circulating on social media. A Howard spokesperson, Lydia Sermons, commented that this was the largest graduation class in college history, so the auditorium reached its capacity limits. 

Heartbroken graduates 


Graduate Halle Ragoonanan spoke to NBC Washington and said she was heartbroken because she had not had the chance to walk the ceremony. It was especially significant for this student since she graduated high school at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The student was cut 


The incident ended with one student who received medical treatment for cuts. The student had glass fragments in their hand. People were in shock over how quickly things escalated. This was confirmed by Kiana Hamilton, another graduate, who was baffled by how everything got out of control. 

Poor planning?


One student’s family came from North Carolina and was disappointed in all the wasted money. However, many on social media blamed the faculty for poor planning. An X user, a friend of the graduate, condemned the University for not taking accountability and instead blaming the parents who came to support their loved ones. Watch the video on X. 

Are families to blame?


Another person, graduate Olivia Clines, said she saw her peers in tears. She noted that families merely wanted to see their loved ones get their diplomas. Clines added that almost all of her friends did not have parents inside and believed no one intended to cause chaos. 

More from inside the failed graduation 


Keynote speaker Dwain N. Esmond was asked to pause his speech. Another graduate, Kalysta Henderson, a health sciences major, commented that Howard is a pricey school, and her whole family from California came to see her. The incident left her devastated. 

Howard’s statement 


The official statement said that guests were quickly dispersed following the incident. The College also reported that security removed someone from the building before the ceremony. It was reported the same person returned and smashed the glass door outside the auditorium.

The event was not ticketed


According to reports, the auditorium can hold up to 1500 people. The event was not ticketed, but it was believed that Cramton could hold up to three to four family members per graduate. 

The aftermath 


Graduation ceremonies across the country became more volatile due to political protests. However, this does not appear to be the case at Howard University. The ceremony was scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. but was cut short at around 7 p.m. due to shattering glass. The College apologized and said they would implement measures to avoid repeating this. More on YouTube

Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.