Some North Texas students last week were still waiting on their caps and gowns just days away from graduation.
NBC 5 Responds spoke to one graduate at Southern Methodist University who had three days to track down his regalia before walking across the stage.
The company supplying the caps and gowns said supply chain disruptions and labor shortages were behind the delay.
'I JUST WANT ASSURANCE'
Three days before Dylan Rafaty’s graduation from SMU with a master’s degree, he told NBC 5 Responds he needed to know if the graduation regalia he ordered on April 11 would arrive before the May 13 ceremony.
“I just want assurance. I want to be able to get my regalia and walk. As a customer, I expect that assurance. Unfortunately, that has not happened,” Rafaty told NBC 5 last Tuesday.
Rafaty showed us an email dated May 4 from the company providing the regalia. It said the company was working to fulfill the order and directed customers to a link to check the status. Last Tuesday, Rafaty’s status showed his order was in progress.
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“They were not thorough. It was just blanket statements that it is coming,” said Rafaty.
COMPANY CITES SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTIONS, LABOR SHORTAGES
NBC 5 Responds reached out to the company, Herff Jones.
Sue Crumpton, Senior Director of Corporate Communications wrote, in part, “Herff Jones is working diligently to minimize delays in fulfilling orders for graduation regalia caused by supply chain disruptions and labor shortages. Regrettably, these factors have caused us to fall behind schedule.”
Crumpton added that the company was working to ship all remaining SMU orders before graduation weekend.
A day later, Rafaty said most of his order arrived. He received his cap and gown, but his degree hood was missing. Rafaty said he was able to get an extra hood from the SMU bookstore at no additional charge in time for commencement.
An SMU spokesperson told us it was assured outstanding orders would arrive in time for commencement ceremonies and that SMU received a bulk delivery of extra caps and gowns.
LOOKING AHEAD TO HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATIONS
In an email to NBC 5 Responds, Crumpton wrote, “Everyone at Herff Jones is committed to delivering caps and gowns to every school in time for their ceremonies – college and high school alike. This commitment is reflected in the extraordinary effort our team members are demonstrating to help ensure every student can celebrate graduation.”
Crumpton added, “We are currently working multiple shifts, seven days a week, across our facilities to finish the delivery of our graduation commitments. As with so many industries, a combination of global supply chain constraints and record labor shortages has created downstream effects this graduation season, and we are very sorry these delays have disappointed students, parents, and faculty at the schools we serve.”
We reached out to other suppliers of caps and gowns and Jostens got back to us. The company’s CEO Michael Burgess told NBC 5 Responds it has enough supply of regalia for the graduation season.
“We had all of the graduation materials that we needed, the caps, gowns and tassels by February of this year so that we could ship them to the schools whenever they wanted them,” Burgess said.
If you’re concerned about an order, touch base with your school. If you need help finding out the status, you can also connect with the NBC 5 Responds team to try to get some answers.
NBC 5 Responds is committed to researching your concerns and recovering your money. Our goal is to get you answers and, if possible, solutions and a resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out our customer complaint form.