Amidst a heatwave sweeping across vast swathes of California, UC Davis halted its inaugural ceremony on Friday, officials said.
According to local reports, six people have been hospitalized with heat-related illnesses.
The ceremony began in the morning hours at UC Davis Health Stadium, an outdoor venue.
But about two hours into the ceremony, university officials released an ominous tweet Warning about the conditions.
“To the graduates/families in the field NOW – it’s extremely hot,” the post reads. “Once you have crossed the stage, you do NOT have to stay to the end. Feel free to walk and go to Hutchison Field where they have COLD water and air conditioning at the U Center. We are working on a stadium announcement.”
About two hours later, university officials released a brief statement.
“Due to health and safety concerns due to the heat and at the urging of the UC Davis Fire Department, Fire Protection Service and Environmental Health Protection, we had to end today’s opening ceremony early,” officials said, adding that they “deeply regret” that some students could not walk across the stage.
According to the Sacramento Bee, there were 35 calls reporting people needing treatment for heat-related illnesses and six people were taken to hospitals. The university did not immediately confirm any hospitalizations.
The Times has reached out to a spokesman for the university for more details about the ceremony, what precautions were taken ahead of the event to mitigate the risk of heat and how the university handled the situation when it emerged that people got sick.
The authorities had warned of extremely high temperatures. AccuWeather reported a high of 105 degrees in Davis City on Friday.
Davis city officials said three cooling centers were open and the National Weather Service in Sacramento warned of a dangerous heat risk.
“Hot temperatures will continue for today and we will see a high risk of heat across much of the area,” a tweet Posted by the Weather Service on Friday morning as indicated. “Pay attention to heat safety to avoid heat-related illnesses.”
Students and their family members took to Twitter during and after the event to express their frustration at how they perceived the university officials’ handling of the conditions.
Some have criticized the university for allegedly banning outside drinks and running short of water supplies to get started.
A Twitter user posted a video of a long water pipe.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-06-10/uc-davis-cuts-commencement-ceremony-6-people-hospitalized-amid-excessive-heat UC Davis cuts commencement ceremony short — 6 people reportedly hospitalized amid excessive heat