This year's message to graduating college seniors: Tell your parents to leave big bags, wrapped gifts and umbrellas at home.
One month after the Boston Marathon bombings, colleges and universities nationwide are stepping up security during commencement ceremonies.
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where the bombing suspects allegedly murdered a police officer three days after the bombings, guests will be asked to walk through metal detectors for some events June 7.
At the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, where surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been a student, officials for the first time issued tickets to guests as a way to "better manage the crowd," spokesman John Hoey says.
Northeastern, the University of Massachusetts-Boston and Boston University are among other nearby schools that have alerted students and their families that extra security measures will be in place.
Campuses far from Boston also are taking precautions.
Last Sunday, security personnel at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., wielded 12-inch rulers while measuring and inspecting bags of entering guests.
The University of Texas-Austin and State University of New York-New Paltz say security will be tight.
The University of Rhode Island in Kingston has moved festivities indoors. Some students have objected. Jacqueline Atkins, a senior from Farmingville, N.Y., says by moving the ceremony inside, "we're letting the terrorists win. It is seen as giving into fear a little bit."
The stricter measures aren't a response to a specific threat but an attempt to allay fears about the vulnerability of public gatherings, police at many colleges stress.
"In light of the recent events, I think there's a heightened concern among the general public about large, open-venue areas," says Ernie Leffler, chief of police at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., where two outdoor ceremonies are scheduled Saturday.
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