Univ­ersities take extra security measures at grad­uations

Increased security a fixture at upcoming ceremonies

SAN ANTONIO - Come this weekend, universities all over will be hosting graduation ceremonies and, for many, there's going to be changes in security.

This week, University of Texas at Austin officials announced that all bags and purses will be searched and that bags larger than 12 inches will be prohibited.

As for University of Texas at San Antonio, there will be San Antonio police officers at the graduation ceremony at the Alamodome on Monday and items like helium balloons, noisemakers, glass vases or large flower arrangements will not be allowed inside the arena.

Some students on Thursday said the new measures are not necessary.

"It's graduation," said Leah Johnson, a student. "I understand that it's a big deal to be graduating, you want it to be civilized and well organized, but it's a bit ridiculous that you have to check bags."

"I think these are overreactions," said Nathan Summers, a student. "These are really small events that happen. The chances of something like that actually happening, especially around here in Texas, I don't see it as a real high possibility."

At the University of Incarnate Word on Thursday, crews were getting the convocation center ready for graduation ceremonies, but also getting ready are the campus police, who are expecting more than 2,000 people.

"We're just watching for individuals that don't look like they really belong here," said Chief Jacob Colunga, of the the Incarnate Word Police Department. "People who act suspicious and so forth."

And although Colunga said they already have security measures in place, they are still not taking any chances.

"The events that have occurred across our country to include Boston, most recently, does heighten security in our mindsets for both officers, as well any staff we are bringing from the outside for this," said Colunga.

Incarnate Word University will host graduation ceremonies at the convocation center on Saturday and then Sunday at the Freeman Coliseum.

For a list of recent stories Stephanie Serna has done, click here.


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