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Guests at Mississippi community college graduation upset after being turned away

SENATOBIA, Miss. — Friday was graduation day for students at Northwest Mississippi Community College, but some family members missed their chance to see their graduates get their diploma.

Many people said they were stuck outside instead of watching their graduate cross the stage.

Erica Moore said she drove overnight from Georgia just to see her cousin graduate Friday morning from NMCC. She said a crash on the highway kept her from arriving on time in Senatobia, but she said that was out of her control.

"We arrived, and it makes no sense," Moore said. "Never got inside. Basically missed the whole ceremony, and we took pictures outside. That is all we did."

Moore said she was among the nearly 300 people who were left outside because college officials said the building was at capacity.

"The capacity wasn't an issue," Moore said. "It was them just being rude — just rude."

Moore shared videos with WREG showing just how unsatisfied people were about being left standing outside on their graduate’s special day.

"You are supposed to be lenient, understanding, courtesy in the least bit," Moore said.

The college's police chief said they put safety above everything else. He said he had no choice but to turn people away when the coliseum quickly reached capacity to comply with fire regulations, even though there were still some empty seats inside.

Moore said she felt robbed of a special moment and feels her time and money was wasted. In the future, she hopes the campus will consider moving the graduation to a bigger venue.

"If you look at all the names, just the graduates, there's no way you chose this venue," Moore said.

Guests who were turned away at these doors said they were told they could watch the graduation online via live stream.

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