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  • KTLA

    UCLA graduations go smoothly with increased security presence

    By Kimberly Cheng,


    Friday was a day of celebration at UCLA despite pro-Palestinian demonstrations that have disrupted life on the university’s Westwood campus.

    An estimated 30,000 people packed UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion for three commencement ceremonies throughout the day.

    Based on the huge smiles, many graduates were just trying to soak in the moment after years of hard work and dedication.

    Some graduates told KTLA’s Kimberly Cheng they did not get a traditional high school graduation due to the pandemic, so they were thrilled to finally celebrate this moment with loved ones.

    “We were worried about graduation at the beginning because we heard the rumor that it might be canceled due to protests. Gladly it didn’t,” said Jian Wen, a UCLA graduate. “I feel so excited.”

    There were concerns that ongoing protests on campus over the Israel-Hamas war would disrupt graduation.

    “I expected to see some [protests] but haven’t seen any yet,” said Frank Garcia, a parent.

    “They were told by staff and faculty things were going to be fine. So, we figured it would be okay,” said Andy Nguyen, the brother of a graduate.

    During the rules of conduct announcement at the beginning of the first graduation, it was stated that the hope was to keep the focus on celebrating graduates.

    UCLA released a statement saying, “This morning’s commencement was poignant and simply beautiful. About 2,200 students came together in a sea of tassels, unified in their celebration of one another’s success as UCLA graduates — the absence of any disruptions illustrates our students’ unified desire to mark this moment as a sole celebration of their success.”

    Attendees said security at the graduation was what you would typically see at a large-scale event. Metal detector checks, a clear bag policy, and extra security were noticeable on campus.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KTLA.

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