URI moves commencement ceremony, students protest - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

URI moves commencement ceremony, students protest

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Dee DeQuattro


Reporting by: Melissa Toupin


As a result of the recent events the University of Rhode Island has announced some major changes to the 2013 graduation ceremony and some students are less than pleased.

The main commencement ceremony which has been held outdoors in the quad in the past will be held at the Thomas M. Ryan Center on May 19. This marks the second time since 2009 the ceremony will take place in the Ryan Center.

Each student will be limited to inviting two guests inside the 8,500 seat venue, however, the school says it is at the individual school that family and friends will watch the students cross the stage and get their diplomas.

"The decision to activate our alternative location plan this year was made after a review of multiple alternatives and a thorough examination of best practices for ensuring safety at such a large and critical event," said President Dooley. "Recent events remind us all that, even in the safety of our own communities, we must be vigilant. These events have reinforced our resolve to improve all that we do to ensure the safety of our community. We want everyone who attends our 2013 Commencement ceremonies to have a day full of joy and pride.  That begins with doing all we can to provide a safe environment for our celebrations."

Students say they feel blind sided and they don't think that the University should live in fear. Students Kelly Harris and Jacqueline Atkins, started a petition to move the graduation back to the quad. She says she already has over 900 signatures.

On twitter, #quad13 is trending as students discuss the matter and a Facebook page to move the graduation back to the quad has been made.

The school says as part of precautionary measures students and guests should be aware that all bags may be subject to search and backpacks and duffle bags are prohibited.

(c) WLNE-TV 2013

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