Wesleyan U. Closes Graduation to Public for Obama Speech

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Officials at Wesleyan University decided to close attendance for the May 26 commencement ceremony, which featured Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama as a speaker for the event.

Graduates were issued 10 tickets for their guests, and seating was on a first-come, first served basis. Normally, commencement is open to the public; however, with such a high-profile speaker, officials had to adjust their plans.

Additionally, graduates were scanned with metal detectors. Before the ceremony, both faculty and graduates were held in secured locations.

On hand for security were Obama’s Secret Service, more than 40 Middletown police officers and a 13-member SWAT team.

Officials explained that Obama’s appearance at the graduation was not a political rally, adding that campaign materials such as signs and banners were prohibited.

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