JCSU cancels in-person homecoming due to coronavirus concerns

School officials point to negative Covid-19 trends and data as reason. Rescheduled in-person commencement for Class of 2020 is also canceled.

As Covid-19 data continues to trend in the wrong direction throughout the state, Johnson C. Smith University announced Tuesday that in-person fall homecoming activities are canceled.

Why it matters: Earlier in the day, Mecklenburg County reported 12,837 cases of novel coronavirus, up from 12,452 cases on Sunday. Data from July 5 also revealed that about 3 in 4 reported cases were adults ages 20 to 59 years old.

Homecoming at Charlotte’s historically Black university was scheduled to kick off on Oct. 28 with commencement exercises for the Class of 2020. Administrators pushed back the May ceremony date to curtail the spread of Covid-19 even though some students participated in a drive-through ceremony last month.

“We understand how much our 2020 graduates and their families were looking forward to an in-person graduation ceremony,” JCSU President Clarence Armbrister said in a statement Tuesday. “However, we believe it is best to make the decision at this time in order to give graduates and their families, as well as alumni, appropriate notice and to avoid any last-minute inconveniences.”

School officials said their Oct. 31 homecoming football game remains on the schedule, but a spokesperson for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) said no decision has been made about whether schools in their conference will play football in the fall.

A student who identified as a spring graduate tweeted, “JCSU Class of 2020 so we can have a football game on oct31 but not our commencement what!! I’m at the game during halftime with my cap and gown walking the field do you hear me.”

Adrian Lanett Harper, a 1992 alumna, says she attends JCSU homecoming every year. However, she was relieved to hear the school’s decision to cancel activities.


“The safety of everybody needs to be the No. 1 priority. I was happy that they understood that homecoming right now is not a good idea,” she told QCity Metro. “I feel bad for the students because it’s such an experience to celebrate all of your hard work, but right now, it’s not just safe to do any of that.”

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