College classes are over for Jarel Brown, however, he’s still on the hunt for answers and now it’s graduation week.
“I ordered my cap and gown, and I’m still missing the hood that goes with it,” Brown said.
The college senior said he ordered his regalia from Herff Jones on March 26.
“I’ve tried to reach out to the company to get an update, but I wasn’t able to get an update, and then on May 8, I got an email saying that my order was shipped,” Brown said. “Once I received it, it was still missing things.”
Just days away from his big day.
“To some people, the hood may not be important,” he explained. “But it’s a big accomplishment for me.”
There was a time when the Army veteran says he didn’t feel like college was a possibility.
“Then I started working in the field of applied behavior analysis with individuals with autism, and I found a passion,” Brown said. “I didn’t even have my Associate’s [degree]. So, I started working on my Associates then I got my Bachelors, and I’m like, ‘Here I am 10 years later, finishing up my Master’s degree.’”
He’s not alone in the search for graduation gear.
“They said it would be here in three weeks, and we waited and waited and didn’t get anything,” Jessica said.
Jessica’s son, who’s graduating from the University of Houston said he just received his cap and gown but other items are still missing.
“He’s our first [child] so, we didn’t know what to do,” she said.
KPRC 2 reached out to Herff Jones, the company supplying the regalia to both schools.
They sent us the following statement:
“Herff Jones is working diligently to minimize delays in fulfilling orders for graduation regalia caused by global chain disruptions and labor shortages. Regrettably, these factors have caused us to fall behind schedule. The company is working to ship all remaining orders to students at the University of Houston and Sam Houston State University in time to celebrate graduation. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused students and are committed to ensuring that every student has their regalia to cross the stage.”
“They waited till the last minute,” Brown said.
After dozens of messages went unanswered— Brown says they could have communicated better.
“I’m still trying to be positive,” he said.
After KPRC 2 contacted Sam Houston State University about Brown’s missing graduation item, a spokesperson was able to locate a hood for Brown at their bookstore.
They provided the following statement:
“As of May 4, 95% of SHSU orders had shipped out. The rest shipped out over the weekend. Every gown was shipped next day air, to arrive no later than Tuesday, May 10 [yesterday.] If there are any students still experiencing issues, we encourage them to contact the campus bookstore for assistance.”
The University of Houston also sent us a statement, saying their graduates should have their regalia before the ceremony:
“All University of Houston spring graduates are expected to receive their regalia rental order prior to their commencement ceremony. Most of our graduates have already received their gowns. The relatively few graduates who have not yet received their regalia have been provided shipping confirmation and tracking numbers.”
Ceremonies will be held Thursday-Sunday.
Students are able to order regalia by visiting the UH Bookstore or placing an order with Herff Jones through a dedicated URL for UH grads.