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URI to move graduation inside for security reasons

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Students at the University of Rhode Island are protesting the school’s decision to move graduation ceremonies inside ­because of security concerns following the Boston Marathon bombings and a recent gun scare on campus.

The May 19 commencement will be held at the Ryan Center arena rather than outside on the quad, said David M. Dooley, URI’s president.

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The campus was locked down last month after people in a lecture hall thought they heard someone say he had a gun. Police found no gun or shooter.

That scare and the bombings in Boston that killed three and injured 264 heightened safety concerns, said URI spokesman Dave Lavallee.

Students launched an effort to keep the ceremony on the quad. A petition at change.org got more than 1,100 signatures by midafternoon Wednesday.

“We know that we need to remember what happened in Boston, but we cannot live our lives in fear,” it says. “To do so would be to give in to terrorists.”

The quad means a lot to students, said senior Kelly Harris, 22, one organizer. “I’m a firm believer in tradition,” she said. “It’s kind of like a cyclical thing — you start and end on the quad.”

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