One of the proudest moments of Melvin Cox’s (pictured right) life would have been to see his daughter graduate with honors from the prestigious Spelman College in Atlanta. Yet, the potential memory of his daughter’s cap and gown moment was allegedly robbed from him, when he — and other parents — reportedly arrived at the school’s graduation ceremony late and were therefore locked out of the event, according to WSBTV.

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Talking with WSBTV about missing his daughter’s graduation, which took place on Sunday at 3 p.m. sharp, Cox said, “It is unacceptable, and it’s something that needs to be addressed today.” According to the disturbed Dad, the event’s doors were locked by security guards at 2:30 p.m.

Cox flew in from Oakland, Calif., and spent more than $1,400 in airfare and accommodations to attend the event. When he and other parents of the graduating class asked to be allowed entry in to the ceremony, security guards reportedly refused — allegedly using verbal threats.

Cox, along with the other parents who were locked out, are incensed about the school’s seemingly unreasonable policy and are demanding that the college reassess it, “To simply turn us away, to at one point call the Sheriff’s Department, and to threaten us with arrests, I mean it’s just not right,” Cox told WSBTV.

Watch Cox discuss missing his daughter’s graduation at Spelman College here:

Cox, who admits that he and his daughter cannot even bring up the graduation without becoming emotional, added, “One of the memories of the day would be a Mother from New York, I believe, with tears welled up in her eyes just standing there in the rain, not believing this was happening to her and her family.”

Spelman responded to the accusations by the miffed parents, saying:

There are guidelines and protocols in place as safety measures, including no access to the facility after a certain time, and no exit and re-entry. These guidelines and protocols are conveyed in a series of communications, beginning in the fall semester of the academic year and throughout the spring semester, leading up to Commencement.

According to Cox, he has received letters from the academic institution but no specific info was relayed to him with regards to the graduation ceremony and any conditions that he should have been mindful of.  “There is no excuse because something very precious, very near to me has been stolen from me,” he laments.

Cox is so upset with the school that he has vowed to not give them another red cent in financial support.

Meanwhile, Cox says that he will write Spelman a “stern letter” to discuss his dismay with regards to the unfortunate turn-of events that occurred during his daughter’s graduation ceremony that he was forced to miss.

Sound off!

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16 thoughts on “Parent Locked Out Of Spelman Graduation Vows To Stop Support

  1. I’m sorry…but if your plane is late or something that is BEYOND your control I would feel bad for you to miss the ceremony. And, even in that case, take a flight that gets you in a day early (I just did that this weekend when going to Texas for my son’s graduation). Otherwise, it is unexcuseable why people cannot plan and arrive 30 minutes early to an event as important as a graduation ceremony. Do you think it’s fair to the graduates or the people who took the time to be there on time to be disrupted with your late arrival. It’s NOT ABOUT YOU!

  2. It’s unfortunate that we black people are guilty of that “CP-time”syndrome” because there can be devastating consequences for our tardiness. I do understand that the doors had to be locked at 2:30. After all, the president was on the program. Perhaps, in the future, there can be some accommodations for those who are late….maybe an area where a monitor can be viewed away from the main auditorium…

  3. Churches and theatres do no allow you to walk in willy-nilly, you must wait at a point and the ushers allow you in. They could do this and sit them in the ‘bleachers’ so to speak, that way you’re there,
    but you are not going to crawl over people to sit where you want to, at least you get to see the cere-
    mony. OR use the phone and make calls to the parents homes, if I can get a call that TSU (daughter) and CAU (son)
    are going to be closed because of inclement weather (I live in MO) surely they could make a courtesy call for something as SPECIAL as a moment such as this. I understand Spelman, but that
    didn’t take a lot of thought or ask another school. Again I say we have people with alphabet soup
    behind their name, but their thought process leaves something to be desired.

  4. It is amazing to me that people will not be on time. I have spearheaded Awards Day ceremonies at an elementary school for all grade levels. It boggles my mind that if an event begins promptly at 8:30 a.m., why would parents start to come in at 9:30 a.m. At that time, the event is over. This gentleman arrived at that the time the doors would close. Whenever I attend an event, I arrive at least 1 hour before it begins. He seems to have lived a long life and this should’ve not been his first experience about not being on time. Life should be about lessons learned and he has yet to learn this one.

  5. Tina on said:

    In very special events like this, one could plan things in an hour, or so to allow for mishaps such as these. I feel for the parents who missed out on a very special day for all involved.
    The school could have accommodated an area for late comers, so they would not interrupt the graduation ceremony. It was a teachable moment and yet very unfortunate as well.

  6. Lori Ervin on said:

    I allowed my son too take our one and only car to his graduation, because he had to be they very early, while we caught a ride…would you believe my sister in law made of late to my child’s H.S. graduation and we were locked out…I was devastated…you had to be there at but 8 am…we got there at 8:05…I needed and pleaded and to no avail, they wouldn’t bulge….that was so unfair.

  7. Karen Sullwold on said:

    That is one of the reason I make sure I am on time because of things like that … It’s the graduates day not a parents day. It’s not fair to the ones that came on time .

  8. Blogger X on said:

    so let’s see…in the grand scheme of things is it more important to enforce a rule of punctuality or allow the parents of a graduate see the culmination of a lifetime of sacrifices. spellman was right for all the wrong reasons on this one…

  9. Black Folks…. We need to start bein’ on time. We need to quit lookin’ for folks to make an exception for us. Brotha’ just needs to take responsibility for being late. I mean how embarrassing is that for your daughter when you mamma an daddy come bustin’ in late…. (probably) again? This is a good opportunity for a “teachable moment”, As parents we should be wise enough to express to our children, “Don’t do what I did… because there are consequences”. Rather than simply being irresponsibly late and blaming it on the system. I would bet that the graduation ceremony guidelines covered this issue

  10. If the ceremony start at 3pm and they are there half hour early, then there no reason they shouldn’t be let in. You have parent coming out of town for their kids graduation. Change the policy for the next graduation or there won’t be any money to the school. Let them think about that.

  11. cindy kirksey on said:

    When you arrive late to an event you disrupt the activities already going on, and all eyes turn to the latecomer. If 10 people arrive at various times, all late, that’s 10 disruptions. But people only think of themselves and their own importance. People need to start out earlier. If it had been my son or daughter’s graduation and I lived out of town, I would arrive the night before. The policy was in place and was made known to parents. Be on time, for heaven’s sake, for something som important!

  12. LayCee on said:

    People need to understand the rules and adhere to policy. I do not beleive for one min this parent was not ifomred of the agenda for these commencement services. He was late and therefore he has to deal with his failure.

  13. Jacquelynn on said:

    Only at an HBCU (and I know of what I speak because a son and four other relatives have graduated from various HBCUs, including Spelman). This rule would be unthinkable at any mainstream university (and others in my family have graduated from mainstream universities). One of my daughters graduated from NYU where there had to be 2000 graduates and many thousands more in the audience who traveled from all over the world to see their son, daughter, etc. graduate. There are any number of unforeseen (i.e., delayed flights) circumstances that can cause people to arrive late. After having financially invested in your child’s college education for four (or more) years, and given the type of event this is, it is simply not a fair or smart rule to establish. Here, too, people are traveling from far and wide to attend their child’s graduation. That is a small-minded rule established by small-minded people. The kicker is the ignorant mentality of the guards at the door who actually threatened to call the police, as though they were addressing criminals.

    • Jacquelynn very well said. These others act like they live in a perfect world. And for the record black people don’t corner the market for showing up late. It’s not a black thing, but yet another stereotype that we have bought into. Sometimes stuff just happens. People are constantly getting up and moving throughout graduation to capture photos so if parents are coming in a little late so what! And for those of you who says this is not about the parent but the graduate must not have children or represent as a parent poorly because if you’ve sacrificed and invested your time and love in your childs and their accomplishments then you’d know it’s also about the parents getting to reap the benefits of all their hard work as well. Alumns money talks. Spelman should be ashamed!

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