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Local colleges step up commencement security following marathon bombings

Posted by Your Town  April 30, 2013 05:34 PM

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Following the April 15 attacks on the Boston marathon, local colleges and universities have decided to step up security at commencement ceremonies in the upcoming weeks.

Northeastern University spokesman Michael Armini said there will be increased police presence at the morning exercises at the TD Garden and the afternoon exercises at the school’s Matthews Arena, both scheduled for Friday.

“The stepped up presence will include both Northeastern and Boston police working in coordination,” he said in an e-mailed statement. “We cannot provide details for obvious reasons.”

Simmons College issued a statement saying that Simmons personnel, state and local police and other security staff will be at the Bank of America Pavilion commencement on May 10, inspecting bags and packages at every entrance. In the statement, the college asked attendees to refrain from bringing large bags and not to leave any belongings unattended during the ceremony.

“As a result of the tragic events at the Boston Marathon we have increased security personnel for this year’s Commencement ceremony,” the college said in the statement. “Public venues throughout the country are increasing security in light of these events; this should not be viewed as an indication of any increased threat to the Boston area.”

Berklee College of Music spokesman Allen Bush also said that the school plans to add security personnel at its commencement May 11 at the Agganis Arena. He did not have any further details.

School officials at Boston University and Harvard University said they could not disclose particulars about security, but that there would be “appropriate” measures taken for commencement ceremonies.

Ellen de Graffenreid, senior vice president for communications at Brandeis University, said in a phone interview that the university plans to be vigilant and increase police presence at its May 19, ceremony at the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center on the Brandeis campus.

“I think in the current environment it’s in everyone’s best interest to be careful,” she said.

Tufts University spokeswoman Kim Thurler said in an e-mailed statement that the school is still in the planning process for its commencement on May 19, but Tufts officials are giving extra attention to emergency preparedness.

"We are considering an increased uniformed police presence and additional steps to ensure security," she said in the statement. "Our incident command center will include public safety representatives from our host cities as well as Tufts personnel."

Katherine Landergan can be reached at klandergan@globe.com. For campus news updates, follow her on Twitter @klandergan.

Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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