Students upset as Rutgers limits tickets to Obama at graduation
Some Rutgers University students are crying foul over the small number of tickets planned for President Obama's commencement address on May 15 at High Point Solutions Stadium in New Brunswick.
Under the plan released by the university on Monday, graduating students will be allowed a total of four tickets — one for the graduating student and three for family and friends.
And that number is simply not enough for some students.
Since the policy was announced, students have taken to a class of 2016 Facebook page to voice their frustrations.
"I am sorry but I have four younger siblings that means that I can only tell one of my siblings they can attend ... Also meaning one of my parents will have to miss my graduation to care for the remaining 3 of them, I don't understand how this is even remotely fair to us who attended NB and are more than deserving of having all our family members attend," Israa Saed posted.
Some students are upset the university didn't take into consideration those loved ones that might have already made plans.
"And they inform us 2 weeks before the ceremony? Many families have booked flights, not only domestically, but internationally to see their students graduate," Les Antwan posted.
Some students are also upset that Rutgers isn't limiting the attendees to just those that attend the New Brunswick campus. The university expects 4,000 tickets to be used by students attending Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark.
"We have worked and waited for this day for what seems like forever. We were continually told that it is "our day" to celebrate our accomplishment with our loved ones. But the priority has shifted to allowing seniors from Camden and Newark to attend our graduation. You have turned your backs on all of us. We are now forced to pick our favorite family members to share this momentous occasion with," student Staci Abbruzzese posted.
Hundreds of students have signed an online petition, calling for Rutgers-New Brunswick students to be the only students in attendance on May 15.
And while some students want to exclude those from the Newark and Camden campus, others think they should be a part of the day since the university is marking its 250th anniversary.
"We are celebrating our graduation and feel rightly so entitled to have guests witness this. But also remember that Rutgers University is also celebrating something: their 250 Anniversary. And this is the first time a President has spoken at commencement here. So they too should have entitlement to invite people they would like to witness this event as well. That can include faculty, staff, and students from other branches of their school such as Newark and Camden. Let's not forget that President Obama's entourage will also take up a certain number of tickets," Marla Speech posted.
And with the ticket limit strictly enforced, some students are scrambling - begging fellow students for any extra tickets or even offering to pay for them.
More than 40,000 people are expected to visit the New Brunswick-area campuses during commencement.
“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 university said in Monday’s statement.
Obama's commencement address to the Rutgers University class of 2016 will be his final graduation speech as president.