EKU responds to concerns over safety issues at its graduation ceremonies Friday

He says rather than graduation being in the AC gym like years past, he says they were on a "smoldering football field"

RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – Eastern Kentucky University is responding to growing concerns from people who attended its Graduation ceremonies on Friday.

Many people expressing  concerns over the way it was conducted, some saying multiple students were escorted out of Roy Kidd Stadium because of how hot it was outside, suffering heat related medical issues.

Austin Cunliffe’s girlfriend who is pregnant was one of the students who graduated on Friday.

He says rather than graduation being in the AC gym like years past, he says they were on a “smoldering football field”.

Cunliffe says his father walked a bottle of water to his girlfriend around the stadium after seeing another student be escorted off the field.
He says a short time later his girlfriend was escorted off the field, he rushed to her side where he says she was surrounded by medical personnel.

A scary moment for him as he says he worried about the health of his girlfriend and unborn child.

Cunliffe says he’s not sure why the ceremony took place outside like it did or why the safety of the students wasn’t considered.

“You want these students to feel that glory when they walk across the stage, and now you have put them in a dangerous position. If they have any medical conditions, you’ve put them in a dangerous position risking a life, risking an unborn child’s life if someone is pregnant. You put them in a pretty dangerous position” said Cunliffe.

We reached out to EKU regarding the incident.

EKU provided us with the following statement.

“Eastern Kentucky University hosted over 25,000 students, faculty, staff, and visitors for the 2022 Spring Commencement. While roughly 550 students confirmed to attend each graduation ceremony, we were pleased that an additional 300 made the day of decision to attend the ceremony. While this created a seating challenge, this was quickly remedied.  We are pleased we could ensure that every graduate that wanted to participate had the opportunity to walk across the stage to receive their diploma.

In addition, the weather is often a concern with outdoor events. Friday’s heat did require additional resources for guests. We appreciate the hard work of the EKU Facilities team that moved into action to bring an additional 10,000 bottles of water to Roy Kidd Stadium and our Aramark partner for opening up additional concession options for guests. By the end of both ceremonies, there were three transports to Baptist Health Hospital treating a variety of medical conditions. In addition, as with all large events, guests needing assistance received basic first aid assistance provided by Madison County EMS.

As with all events held on our campus, our team has begun debriefing and will make appropriate recommendations as we plan future outdoor commencements. ”

Categories: Featured, Local News, News