Polk State College overbooks graduation venue, leaving dozens of families without tickets

Dozens of families with loved ones graduating from Polk State College will not be able to attend the graduation ceremony Thursday because the RP Funding Center is at capacity.

Polk State College is facing backlash from students who are frustrated their families won’t get to see them walk across the stage.

“It is upsetting. I’ve been working my butt off going to school, raising a baby," student Meghan Howard said.

Howard and Erika Aleman are both students at Polk State College and are both working mothers.

“Knowing that my kids will not be there, like, it breaks my heart because I have a 9-year-old and a 6-year-old and they were excited to see me walk," Erika Aleman said.

Graduation is a moment every student works for and every family looks forward to, but Friday both Aleman and Howard were told their families would not get to be there to witness that moment.

“I reserved my tickets two months ago. They told us to and then I called today to receive them and they said they didn’t have anymore,” Howard said.

A school spokesperson told FOX 13 over the phone the school did not anticipate so many students would be graduating.

“I don’t believe that," Howard said. "We had to submit our graduation application so they had to know how many people wanted to graduate.”

The school told FOX 13 News in an email they estimated 630 students would be graduating, which is why they offered each student 6 tickets, putting the RP Funding Center at full capacity of 4,000 people, but in actuality more than 700 students are participating in the ceremony, meaning 70-some families will be left out.

“They should be able to either book another place bigger or split the ceremony into two,” Aleman said.

The school told us they have no plans of making any changes and only say they’ll be offering a live stream of the ceremony.

We asked what they plan to do in the future to prevent something like this from happening. They say they’re still trying to figure that out.

“It’s disappointing," Howard said. "It just kind of makes me want to tell people not to come here and pick a different college.”