Doubts are being raised over the reasons for the cancellation of Tuesday evening's session of the D.C. National College Fair at the Convention Center after a fight ended the morning session early, writes Bill Turque at the Washington Post.
Bill Turque writes that an estimated 2,000 students and their families were expected to attend. A fair like this could have had a huge impact on their lives. More than 300 representatives of colleges and universities from the U.S., Canada and Great Britain were going to be available for one-on-one meetings. Students could also visit a counseling center to discuss their choice of majors and get information about financial aid.
However, a fight broke out in the morning session among a small group of the 7,000 that attended. The morning event was scheduled to end at 1pm but was suspended at about 11:45am and the students were evacuated with assistance from the police.
In a statement, Events DC said "disruptive activity" posed unspecified safety considerations for the evening segment.
"Public safety remains our utmost concern and priority for our attendees," An Events DC spokesman said.
But questions are being raised over the true nature of the cancellation after Marc Caposino, communications director for OSSE, which co-sponsored the event with the National Association for College Admission Counseling, said he was told by officials that it was not security concerns but a complaint about noise that led to the scuttling of the evening program, writes Turque.
"To be honest, the sad thing was the reaction by the convention center was such an overreaction," Caposino said. "It was an enormous disservice to the kids and parents who were planning to go that night."
Caposino was told the complaint came from another group using the center that day. Thought to be LeadingAge (formerly known as the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging).
However, LeadingAge spokeswoman Lauren Shaham said she wasn't aware of any noise-related issue raised by her organization.
Convention center senior vice president and general manager Samuel Thomas has not commented.