Sunday, June 16, 2024

A Calm Ending to A Chaotic Week At Howard Graduation – Three Minutes Into Ceremony A Fight Began | WATCH

*What a wild week in DC! Howard University celebrated its class of 2024, including the College of Nursing and Allied Health Services, in a special graduation ceremony at the Capital One Arena.

During the event, Howard’s President Dr. Ben Vinson III addressed the graduates, acknowledging the difficulties they faced on Thursday (05-09-24: “We apologize for the events you endured this week, but we stand here to salute you.”

The ceremony, lasting three hours, marked the graduation of the largest class in the university’s history. Among the graduates was Justice Hodges, who expressed relief and surprise at being able to participate.

“After Thursday, I did not think I was going to walk, and it was a terrible experience.”

MyLove Tetterton and Justice Hodges - courtesy of MyLove Tetterton
MyLove Tetterton and Justice Hodges – courtesy of MyLove Tetterton

The week had been marred by chaos during an earlier attempt at a graduation event, as described by Hodges’ mother, Mylove Tetterton, who traveled from New Jersey. She recounted the disruption to WUSA:

“Three minutes into it there was a fight already on the other side, the inside. It was total chaos in there.” She observed people frantically banging and kicking on the doors of the auditorium, trying to gain entry, and graduates leaving the stage upon noticing their family members couldn’t get inside.

Tetterton also shared her fears about her son’s graduation prospects, exacerbated by past disappointments due to COVID-19: “No, I didn’t think so, because of COVID, his high school graduation. He missed it.”

At the Saturday ceremony, Dean Gina Spivey Brown reminded the graduates of their resilience, “I told you Thursday night that you were unstoppable, did I not?”

She highlighted the intense desire of friends and family to support the graduates: “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.”

Following the cancellation of Thursday’s ceremony, Dean Brown quickly arranged a contingency plan that allowed all 280 graduates of the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences to receive their degrees and awards on the big stage. Hodges felt validated by this decision.

“She said okay, after commencement, we’re going to give you your degrees and all of your awards and we’re going to let you guys walk. I feel very happy, I feel like our voices were heard and we were accommodated well. I thank Howard for that.”

Tetterton expressed gratitude for the university’s response and the extra support provided.

“We stayed a little bit longer, but they showed them that extra support and sympathy for the other day, so I was happy about it.”

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