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Security Plan for 2018 Commencement Weekend

UPDATE: Commencement pushed up to 12:40 p.m. due to weather

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UPDATE (11:30 am): Today’s All-University Commencement will begin approximately 20 minutes early, at 12:40 pm, due to the weather forecast.

Among the security measures for BU’s 145th Commencement are a ban on backpacks and a requirement that graduates carry their robes rather than wear them into the individual school Convocation venues and the All-University ceremony on Nickerson Field on Sunday.

This year the Convocations kicked off with the School of Medicine ceremony on May 17. The times, dates, and locations for other school Convocations are listed here.

Robert E. Molloy, BU Police Department deputy chief, says students are asked to arrive with caps and gowns in hand to expedite screening and entry at all events. Guests should also leave all unnecessary bags and purses at home for the same reason. See below for a list of banned items.

Students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and guests may also be randomly searched by wand, he says, but overall, security should be unobtrusive.

“This is a fun, celebratory day,” Molloy says. “We want to secure the venue without people thinking this is an armed camp. So we are taking these and other measures to make sure people stay safe.”

BU tightened security measures after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three, including BU student Lu Lingzi (GRS’13).

In a departure from past years, the Boston Police Department Law Enforcement Command Center, which oversees all law enforcement agencies during Sunday’s Commencement (Boston Police, Brookline Police, and BUPD), will be staged at the corner of Pleasant Street and Commonwealth Avenue. Previously, the command center had been on Agganis Way.

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

For those choosing to drive, different parking rules apply day-to-day for guests and visitorsfaculty 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.

Megan Woolhouse can be reached at megwj@bu.edu.

2 Comments

2 Comments on Security Plan for 2018 Commencement Weekend

  • Twice a BU Parent on 05.18.2018 at 12:09 pm

    Congratulations to all the graduates!!!

    thank you to the BUPD who work so diligently to make the event safe

    thank you to the many staff who work endless hours day after day at so many different locations to make the event so special.

  • Dan on 05.18.2018 at 12:49 pm

    When I graduated from BU 12 years ago, I wore a ceremonial sword as per family tradition. Do people still do that, or is it not allowed any more.

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