Graduation Day with the Secret Service
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 3 Jun 98 19:54:05 -0700
Subject: Graduation Day with the Secret Service
From: elshaw@MIT.EDU (Libby Shaw)
Prez Clinton will be giving a speech at MIT's commencement this Friday. My
sense is that this will be a public relations disaster for him, which is
not something he needs right now. The exclusionary security precautions
being taken are totally dominating the campus that day.
Family members of graduates who couldn't get extra tickets for seating on
the giant grassy lawn where graduation happens usually congregate cheerfully
around the edges of the event, contributing to the sense of campus-wide
celebration on this happy day. This year they'll be banished to a distant
part of campus to watch the speeches on closed circuit television. All the
campus buildings anywhere near graduation will be closed for security
reasons from 2 AM to at least 1 PM Friday. We worker bees are advised not
to even try to come to campus.
The memo below should give you a sense the joyous occasion graduation at
MIT will be this year. Couldn't be worse if some nefarious agency were
sabotaging the event on purpose.
------- Forwarded Message
From: Gloria Landahl <glandahl@MIT.EDU>
Subject: URGENT - SECURITY MESSAGE FOR GRADS
TO ALL GRADUATING STUDENTS -
I was at a commencement rehearsal today - these people are not kidding
around - ANYthing remotely construed as being "out of line" - literally AND
figuratively - is going to be taken VERY seriously and will have an impact
on the entire graduation ceremony and all involved. Please take time to
carefully read this through, and then act accordingly. I want to see you
>********TO ALL STUDENTS WHO WILL BE
>PARTICIPATING IN COMMENCEMENT THIS YEAR.
>IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT*************************
>Due to strict security measures this year, it is important that you
>read and understand some of the protocols as you arrive at Johnson
>Arena in the morning. We are looking forward to an exciting and
>memorable day with all of you, and hope that these guidelines will help
>things to run smoothly!
>We ask that you observe the following guidelines:
>DO NOT carry large or metallic objects, including walkmans, radios,
>large key rings, pocket knives of any kind, or any sharp or blunt
>instrument. They WILL NOT be allowed into Johnson Arena.
>DO NOT bring any bags, purses, or backpacks. The smaller the number of
>carried objects, the faster the security check will be. All items will
>be scrutinized and will cause delays.
>DO NOT bring bottles or beverages of any kind. This includes champagne
>bottles, soda cans, water bottles, etc. Food and drink will be
>available at Johnson.
>DO NOT bring balloons or confetti.
>MIT cannot accept responsibility for storing items that are not
>permitted through security checkpoints. You will be fine if you
>observe the above guidelines.
>You MAY bring a camera, but it CAN NOT be in a camera bag or case. All
>cameras will be subject to inspection.
>Please bring your MIT ID.
>You MUST arrive at the time designated for your school. This is to
>ensure that all graduates get through the metal detectors in a timely
>manner. Please instruct your guests and families to go directly to
>Killian Court, as they will not be allowed into Johnson arena.
>Tardiness will jeopardize your participation in commencement, so please
>be on time. [Gloria's note: it is more than jeopardize your
>participation - if you're late enough, you simply will not be allowed
>into Johnson Arena and therefore can't have ANY part in commencement.
>So be there on time!!]
>Food and drink will be served at Johnson, and water will be available
>after the speeches in Killian Court. Gloria's note: There will be light
>breakfast available (free) for guests waiting in Killian Court.
>The Graduate Procession will leave the Johnson Athletics Center and
>pass through Metal Detectors operated by the U.S. Secret Service. The
>Procession will then cross campus to Killian through a secured rope
>line. On route to Killian Court, YOU MUST stay to the center of the
>aisles and stay in the same place in line. DO NOT attempt to reach
>over the rope line to shake hands or greet spectators. Any graduate
>who crosses the rope line will be immediately detained by a Police
>Officer or Secret Service Agent. Graduates will not be permitted to
>reenter the line for any reason and will not attend the Commencement
>Please stay in your seat during Dr. Ho's and President Clinton's
>remarks. MIT Campus Police will do what is appropriate and within their
>power to prevent disruption of the Commencement Exercises. Because of
>President Clinton's presence, any disruptive activity in Killian Court
>will be treated with low tolerance by the Secret Service and the MIT
------- End of Forwarded Message
© 1998 Peter Langston