New Jersey

Rutgers Limits Number of Student Guests at Commencement

Rutgers University students from the New Brunswick campus and the biomedical and health sciences schools will be allowed just three guests when President Obama delivers remarks at the school’s commencement ceremony on May 15.

Rutgers made the announcement on their Facebook page this week, and it has drawn the ire of students who hoped to secure seats for more guests.

“The tickets will be barcoded and will not be transferable. Ticket holders will be required to have photo identification, and all guests must have a ticket regardless of age,” Rutgers said in the statement posted to their Facebook page.

"While the limit to three guests at the stadium is a change from past practice, it ensures that every graduating student from Rutgers University–New Brunswick and from Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences is accommodated," the statement continued. 

Students then used the platform to voice their disappointment with the decision. 

 “I'll remember this when Rutgers sends me a letter requesting alumni donations....” Facebook user Kevin Moser wrote in response to the school’s announcement.

“This is a total disappointment and slap in the face. I've spent my full 4 years here working my hardest to graduate on time-just like many of my classmates,” user Mike McGowen fumed on the school’s Facebook page.

Rutgers announced this month that Obama would deliver remarks at the 2016 commencement ceremony, the first time a sitting president has addressed the school's graduates.

 “This is the first time in Rutgers University’s history that a sitting president has agreed to speak at commencement,” said university President Robert Barchi, who added that the New Brunswick campus is "delighted" about Obama's appearance.

And some students like Kiersten Formoso agree. 

"Everyone's freaking out about it. I actually think it's incredibly reasonable," she said of the seating limits. 

Formoso pointed out that because the president is speaking, Rutgers is shuttling in graduates from the Camden and Newark campuses. And with nearly 18,000 graduates, the seats fill fast. 

"I'm excited, you know, to see Obama as my commencement speaker," she said. 

Formoso said she'll narrow down her list and focus on commencement with the commander-in-chief. 

There will be other viewing sites for people who have already arrangements to be at the ceremony, according to Rutgers. They include the Busch Student Center, the Livingston Student Center or the College avenue Student Center. No tickets are required for viewings there, and seating is general admission. 

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