Kansas University has issued a written apology to graduating medical school students for coming up about 50 hoods short at a ceremony during the weekend.
Leaders at the KU School of Medicine didn't realize until Saturday's hooding ceremony was under way at the Lied Center that the order of rented hoods they'd received from an academic regalia company wasn't enough for all 175 graduating medical students. The hood is a piece of academic regalia that's draped over students' shoulders as they cross the stage during the graduation ceremony.
"The university takes full responsibility for what happened, in that, ultimately, these ceremonies are under our supervision and guidance," said David Adkins, vice chancellor for external affairs at KU Medical Center. "For someone who has worked that hard and that long to obtain that degree, it is regrettable and unfortunate that a situation like this would occur."
Adkins said KU faculty members sent a written apology to students via e-mail, and the school is looking into whether the students' $90 rental fee for the hoods can be refunded by the Kansas City-based company that provided them.
When the faculty ran out of hoods midway through the ceremony, a handful of students received handshakes instead of hoods.
"What kind of disturbed me about the situation was that instead of making some kind of announcement or trying to explain the situation, KU just tried to sweep it under the rug," said Ryan Hall, 25, a graduating medical student from Hesston. "Their plan was just to shove the rest of the people through with a handshake and not even give them a hood, which to me was kind of appalling."
That prompted students in the crowd to begin to pass their hoods back to the stage so they could be reused.
"It was a great sign of solidarity," Adkins said.
Eventually, every student was able to pass through the line and be photographed receiving the hood, including the students who didn't get a hood the first time through, Adkins said.
But when the class walked down Campanile Hill on Sunday, those who had hoods carried them instead of wearing them.
"I thought it was really embarrassing to the university that they could let this happen. : This could have been checked weeks ago," Hall said.
Adkins said that as of Tuesday it still hadn't been determined exactly what went wrong, but he said "it can never happen again."
A representative of the company that provided the hoods, Peterson Cap and Gown, declined comment Tuesday.