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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Heightened security measures await graduates at University-wide Commencement ceremony

Graduates attending University-wide Commencement will face heightened security measures this year, a University spokeswoman said Thursday.

Increased security measures due to first lady Michelle Obama’s presence will require students to arrive earlier than past years and show photo identification in order to enter the cordoned off seating area, University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said.

Students must arrive to the mall at 7:30 a.m. in order to go through metal detectors, earlier than the 8:15 a.m. arrival time last year, Sherrard said.

Sherrard added that students will receive a personalized e-mail which they must print out and bring to the May 16 ceremony on the National Mall in order to gain entrance.

“They will be required to show a printed copy of the e-mail they receive and their GWorld card and/or a government-issued photo identification such as a drivers license or passport,” Sherrard said in an e-mail.

Graduates will be required to go through metal detectors when they check in, a measure that was not in place last year when the ceremony occurred on the National Mall. Last year’s Commencement speaker was Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s chief of staff.

Sherrard confirmed that agencies like the National Park Service, Metropolitan Police, the Secret Service and University Police will be coordinating security.

Once graduates check in, seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis, Sherrard said.

“The earlier graduates arrive, the better their chances of sitting close to the stage and with their school,” Sherrard said.

While cameras are permitted, graduates will be asked to not bring large bags or backpacks, and guests of graduates will be advised to hold on to their tickets while they are on the National Mall.

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