Spelman parent locked out of graduation vows to stop supporting school

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ATLANTA - A Spelman College parent is vowing to stop giving money to the school after he and others were locked out of their children's graduation.

The parent said others are following suit. He told Channel 2’s Craig Lucie the subject is so upsetting that he and his daughter cannot talk about her graduation ceremony.

“It is unacceptable, and it's something that needs to be addressed today,” Melvin Cox told Lucie.

Several parents sent Channel 2 Action News cellphone video of them being locked out of the ceremony. It began at 3 p.m. Sunday, but security guards locked the doors right at 2:30 p.m. Cox wants school administrators to reassess their policy.

“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,” Cox said.

Cox said he arrived two minutes after guards locked the doors and was turned away.

“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,” he said.

Spelman sent a statement to Channel 2 Action News 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.”

Cox said he's received letters in the mail from Spelman, but none of them contained information about graduation.

“There is no excuse because something very precious, very near to me has been stolen from me,” he said.