UNC Announces More Security Measures for Commencement

University officials released this week measures to tighten security for this weekend’s Commencement, including requiring graduates to show their student IDs before entering Kenan Stadium and a reminder to attendees that protests limiting the ability to hear a speaker won’t be tolerated.

UNC officials will enforce the new procedures in light of the recent pro-Palestinian protests on campus over the past two weeks. Commencement will be held May 11 at 7 p.m. in Kenan Stadium.

The new procedures apply to Commencement ceremonies in all venues this weekend, including the doctoral hooding and all school, departmental and small group ceremonies, according to information on the University’s Commencement website.

Security also will enforce a clear-bag policy, usually reserved for football and basketball games, at Commencement ceremonies.

Several items, including balloons, alcohol and artificial noise makers, will be prohibited. A complete list of what will and will not be allowed into the stadium is on the Commencement and athletics department websites.

University officials have said they respect the First Amendment rights of students, faculty, staff and campus visitors, including the right to peacefully protest. Officials said, however, those rights must be “balanced with the University’s need to maintain human safety, protect public property, and enable the University’s customary operations to be performed,” according to the institution’s Policy on Demonstrative Events.

The University exercises its right to “establish and enforce reasonable restrictions on the time, place and manner of protests, demonstrations, and other expressive activities at its facilities both indoors and outdoors,” and those who fail to comply face possible disciplinary actions, including arrest.

Graduates have been asked to arrive in the Loudermilk parking lot adjacent to Kenan Stadium at 5:30 p.m. for the ceremony. They will not be required to register or have tickets.

UNC officials declined to say whether there will be increased security for the main Commencement ceremony or on campus. “UNC-Chapel Hill’s commencement will proceed as planned,” Media Relations officials said in a statement. “UNC Police will be in attendance for safety and security.”

On April 30, six pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested on campus after failing to remove tents they’d erected on Polk Place in front of South Building. Three UNC students and three people who are not affiliated with the University were arrested.

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