Graduation ceremony canceled due to ‘credible threat’

A sticky note led to the evacuation of the Boca Student Union. Although, no suspicious items were found before or after a building sweep.


Ahead of today’s 5 p.m. graduation ceremony, hundreds of students and FAU community members evacuated from the Boca Student Union. Earlier in the afternoon, an FAU employee found a post-it note that FAU police deemed a “credible threat.” Photo courtesy of an anonymous student

Hope Dean, Managing Editor

With the cancellation and evacuation of FAU’s 5 p.m. graduation ceremony today, over 400 students couldn’t take the Student Union auditorium stage.

Police were notified after an FAU staff member found a threatening post-it note in the College of Business women’s restroom around 4:15 p.m. The Student Union entrances were outfitted with K-9 units and metal detectors, but no weapons or other suspicious items were found, FAU police Chief Brammer said during a briefing on the “credible threat.”

A “credible threat,” according to Brammer, specifies a location and time of attack, and the note did both. There were two other graduation ceremonies today at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., but the note’s threat was specific to the last ceremony.

FAU spokesperson Joshua Glanzer told the University Press that 462 students would have graduated during the ceremony. During the briefing, FAU President John Kelly said they were a part of the largest summer graduation in FAU’s history.

Students and families evacuate from the Student Union on the side closest to the library and Parking Garage I. Photo courtesy of an anonymous student

Brammer added that FAU decided to evacuate the Student Union within 15 minutes of finding the note. Boca Raton police helped sweep the building following the evacuation order.

There is no current suspect and it’s not known if a student wrote the note, Brammer said.

“This is serious. We take this as a terroristic threat, and we’re going to investigate it to the fullest, and when we do find this person we’re going to charge them with whatever we can,” he said.

As for a replacement ceremony, President Kelly said that FAU will either reschedule or combine this graduation with the fall semester’s.

“We’ll try to work out something that is equitable to students on actually having a graduation,” he said. “I don’t think that they would care about the money as much as they would care about the opportunity to actually go through and experience where they have a memorable graduation and not just a canceled one.”

Email, phone, and text alerts went out at 7:29 p.m. notifying FAU community members that the situation was over and that the campus should return to “normal business.”

“Our No. 1 goal is to keep everyone at FAU safe. That’s something that … we preach, we put that into practice every single day,” Brammer said. “So this was a non-decision for us.”

Check back with the UP as this story continues to develop.

Hope Dean is the managing editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories email [email protected].