In a change of plans, Vice President Joe Biden will be at the main University Commencement on Monday, the Division of Public Safety said on Thursday night.
Along with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, Biden had already planned to attend the School of Arts and Sciences graduation on Sunday evening. Trump is not attending the Monday ceremony, Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said.
Biden's presence at the Monday ceremony will now require a greater security presence at Franklin Field. The stadium will now open for family and friends of the graduates at 7 a.m., Rush said. Guests should enter Franklin Field through the east gate at the intersection of South Street and Convention Avenue. Any handicapped or disabled guests should use the southwest corridor entrance at the corner of 33rd and South streets.
The main commencement will start at 10:15 a.m.
In an email to graduates on Wednesday, University Secretary Leslie Laird Kruhly announced the "heightened security" due to the presence of "visiting dignitaries."
Rush clarified on Thursday that the additional "dignitaries" referred to just Biden.
With any public event that involves the president or vice president, attendees must go through a check from a magnetometer machine, which Rush compared to airport-style screenings.
Only the College of Arts and Sciences graduation on Sunday night and the main commencement ceremony the following day will include the magnetometer screenings run by the Secret Service, Rush said. None of the other school ceremonies will be affected.
Gates will now open for the College graduation on Sunday night — which also is taking place at Franklin Field — at 4 p.m. The ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m.
Given the new security restrictions, Kruhly's email said guests are prohibited from bringing a variety of items to both ceremonies, including selfie sticks, large bags, soda cans, plastic bottles and umbrellas.
"Leave your bags at home [and just] put stuff in your pockets," Rush said. "Travel light."
Biden will be in attendance to see his granddaughter Naomi graduate. His daughter Ashley and late son Beau previously attended Penn, graduating from the School of Social Policy and Practice in 2010 and the College in 1991 respectively.
On Sunday, Trump's daughter Tiffany will be the third of his children to earn a Penn diploma. His son Donald Jr. and daughter Ivanka both attended Wharton, graduating in 2000 and 2004 respectively.
This article was last updated on Thursday, May 12 at 10:28 p.m. Check back for updates.Comments powered by Disqus
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