Florida

FAU cancels summer commencement ceremony because of ‘a credible threat’

The student union building at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., here in a June 2000 file image, was evacuated and a graduation ceremony scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, was canceled.
The student union building at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., here in a June 2000 file image, was evacuated and a graduation ceremony scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, was canceled. TNS

Florida Atlantic University’s summer 2018 commencement ceremony slated for 5 p.m. Tuesday was canceled after the school received “what law enforcement considers a credible threat,” the school announced via social media.

The threat was found on a Post-It note in a women’s restroom at FAU’s College of Business by a staff member, according to the university.

The Boca Raton campus’ student union was evacuated around 4:50 p.m. as text warnings, Tweets and Facebook posts spread the news.

Tuesday evening, some two hours after nearly 500 students would have taken to the stage to get their diplomas, the university released a statement:

“At approximately 4 p.m. today, a staff member found a note in a women’s restroom at FAU’s College of Business with a threat that was specific to today’s 5 p.m. commencement ceremony. The ceremony was canceled and the building evacuated to allow for a police investigation,” Joshua Glanzer, FAU’s assistant vice president for media relations, said in the statement.

According to the university, 462 students were scheduled to participate in the ceremony. “Every effort will be made to give these students the recognition they deserve,” FAU said in its statement. It listed a site for updates, www.fau.edu/advisory.

At 7:35 p.m., FAU reported that “the situation occurring in the Student Union is now over” and that the school had returned to normal business. But not quite.

The Student Union remained closed and will resume normal operations Wednesday morning.

“The safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors is our top priority,” FAU President John Kelly said at a press conference, CBS4 reported. “We understand how disappointed our students must be that today’s final commencement ceremony was canceled. We will try to ensure that they receive the recognition they deserve.”

Some parents took to social media to praise the school and its police department for the swift action to whisk students to safety, despite the disappointing cancellation of the ceremony.

“As a current FAU parent,” read one post on Twitter, “I appreciate how quickly the situation was handled by our FAU [administration] and FAU Police Department.”

The investigation is ongoing.

Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.
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