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Campus Life

Security Dos and Don’ts

For Commencement, no backpacks, robes must be carried to all locations


As in recent years, security at Sunday’s 144th Commencement includes a ban on backpacks and a requirement that graduates carry their robes not only to the main ceremony at Nickerson Field but to all individual school convocation venues.

This year, as last, the convocations kick off with the School of Medicine ceremony on Thursday, May 18, at 2 p.m., at Agganis Arena. The timing for other schools is here.

“Guests and graduates will see the same security measures in place as last year,” says Captain Robert E. Molloy of the Boston University Police Department. “We do want to remind students that the screening process goes much quicker if they do not wear their caps and gowns until they get through the screening points.”

BU tightened security measures following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three, one of them BU student Lu Lingzi (GRS’13).

The University urges faculty and staff attending events to use public transportation because of the anticipated heavy traffic and parking demands. On Thursday, the BU Shuttle (the BUS) will operate on its normal summer schedule, beginning at 7 a.m. and running until 11:25 p.m. (buses will run every 30 minutes). A special Commencement weekend shuttle will run between Kenmore Square and the Track & Tennis Center on Ashford Street from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. A map of Commencement Weekend shuttle routes is here.

For those choosing to drive, differing parking rules apply for guests and visitors, faculty and staff, and people with disabilities.

Other procedures:

  • All students, faculty, staff, volunteers, guests, and vendors will be subject to screening when entering any Commencement weekend venue, possibly with a metal-detecting wand.
  • Only small and average-size handbags, purses, and camera bags will be allowed (no large totes, oversize purses, backpacks, large diaper bags, or messenger bags). Bag size is limited to 12″ x 12″ x 6″. All bags will be physically inspected prior to entry.
  • No other bags, gift bags, wrapped gifts, packages, briefcases, backpacks, or luggage will be allowed in a Commencement or convocation venue, including Nickerson Field.
  • If guests have packages or bags that are not permitted, they may leave them at a self-check area adjacent to the venue. While this area will be monitored by security, the University will not provide a claim check process and will not be responsible for packages left in a self-check area.
  • Graduates and faculty must carry their robes into event venues and then put them on in designated lineup areas.
  • Anyone who sees anything suspicious should immediately contact the BUPD at 617-353-2121.
  • Venues will be staffed by professional safety personnel. Bomb-sniffing dogs from the Boston Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police will check specific venues and open areas, including bag storage and checkpoint areas. As in previous years, the main stage at Nickerson Field will be cleared by canine and explosive ordnance disposal specialists before the Commencement exercises start.

Find more information about Commencement here.

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Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

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