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Howard University Makes Up For Viral Graduation Snafu With Special Ceremony For Nursing Students

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Howard University Students Protest Living Conditions At Dorms On Campus

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On Saturday, a special graduation ceremony was conducted for Howard University’s College of Nursing and Allied Health Services class of 2024 after the class’ original commencement Thursday was reportedly shut down by the fire department due to the venue exceeding its capacity.

According to WUSA9, a three-hour ceremony was held for graduating students of the department who were not able to walk on Thursday due to their ceremony being cut short. Howard University’s College of Nursing and Allied Health Services had the largest graduation class in the HBCU’s history, with more than 200 students.

MORE: ‘The Mecca’: How Howard University Got Its Illustrious Nickname

Howard’s President, Dr. Ben Vinson III, said he was sorry for the incident during his address to graduates on Saturday.

“We apologize for the events you endured this week, but we stand here to salute you,” Vinson said.

What happened at Howard University’s graduation on Thursday?

Families of students from the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences gathered eagerly at Washington, D.C.’s Cramton Auditorium on Thursday. However, the joyous occasion turned into chaos when the ceremony was unexpectedly called off during the keynote speech due to overcapacity, leaving some relatives stranded outside.

A video shared to X May 10 captured a chaotic scene outside of Thursday’s graduation with a crowd of frustrated family members clamoring at the auditorium’s entrance, chanting “Open the door!” and “Let us In!” while the event was underway. A shattered glass door could be seen in the background, reportedly due to frustrated family members banging on the door. 

After Thursday’s disaster, upset netizens flocked to social media to voice their frustration with some noting how the nursing students were “robbed” of a proper graduation ceremony. Others urged the HBCU to take “accountability” for “poor planning.”

Thankfully, their concerns were answered. All 280 graduating students from the nursing department were allowed to walk at Saturday’s make-up commencement ceremony. 

“I told you Thursday night that you were unstoppable, did I not?” said Dean Gina Spivey Brown at Saturday’s graduation, according to WUSA9.

“We prepared so many students of excellence, you all, that there was an overwhelming support of family, friends and loved ones. They wanted to get in so bad that they were breaking down the doors, because that’s what we do at Howard.”

Justice Hodges, an alumna of the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, expressed gratitude for Howard University’s efforts to rectify the tumultuous graduation ceremony experienced on Thursday.

“I feel very happy, I feel like our voices were heard and we were accommodated well. I thank Howard for that,” he said. 

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