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The University of Utah does not allow protesters to disrupt graduation ceremonies

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah is taking some additional security measures for graduation as renewed protests threaten on campus.

U of U officials said the university will have multiple law enforcement agencies on site at the Huntsman Center on Thursday.

The University of Utah Police Department only has about 40 officers. According to a university spokesperson, the Salt Lake City Police Department and the Utah Highway Patrol are just two of the police agencies in Salt Lake County that assist campus police when needed.

Additional police officers at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. (KSL TV)

U of U spokesman Chris Williams said they would allow anyone to protest peacefully. They will not allow any disruption to the ceremony.

“Stand up and turn your back so it doesn’t feel like it’s disrupting the ceremony. I think singing, anything that disrupts the speaker or detracts from our students' celebration would be great. We would ask law enforcement to step in and help get these people out,” Williams said.

Signs posted at the University of Utah indicate that no signs or banners are allowed in the arena, nor are bags. Participants must pass through metal detectors.

A sign asking visitors not to bring signs or banners.

A sign asking visitors not to bring signs or banners. (KSL TV)

Williams said the university expects about 10,000 people to attend the ceremony.

“We are fully committed to freedom of expression and fully appropriate expression, the right to freedom of expression on our campus. So that's not what we're worried about. This involves disrupting an event or setting up camps. We have been monitoring very closely what has been happening across the country. “We won’t let that happen,” Williams said.

Around 5:30 p.m., a small group of protesters gathered at the Huntsman Center.

One protester was handcuffed and left the campus. KSL TV has not confirmed whether the protester was arrested or why he was handcuffed.

At least one social media post encouraged students to potentially interrupt U of U President Taylor Randall during the ceremony.

Williams said if that happens, they would stop the ceremony and escort people out. He noted that Randall was just emceeing tonight and wasn't giving a speech.

Anna Harden

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