University of California, Riverside

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Security Tight for Campus Commencement

UC Riverside Increases Security for Weekend Commencement Ceremonies

A threat made against the Friday night ceremony forced the cancellation of the event

(June 15, 2007)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( —- UC Riverside officials cancelled the commencement ceremony for Friday, June 15th. The campus received a threat against that one ceremony, and also found an incendiary device on campus that was confirmed and then eliminated by the Riverside Police Department bomb squad. This ceremony has been rescheduled for Monday, June 18, at 9:00 a.m. The same ticket issued for the Friday evening ceremony will be used for the Monday morning ceremony.

The campus will continue with the rest of the commencement ceremonies Saturday, Sunday and Monday, under a heightened security environment.

”Security measures will include the tripling of security personnel,” said Ellen Wartella, executive vice chancellor. “Safety remains the University's top priority. This decision to proceed was made on the recommendation of federal, state and local law enforcement.”

No back packs will be allowed. Purses and camera bags will be subject to security searches. No bottles and liquids will be allowed. Graduates and attendees should arrive early to allow time for the security check-in. For ticketed ceremonies, no one will be admitted without an official ticket, except media with official credentials, and UCR employees assigned to work during the ceremony. One ceremony never required tickets.

Updates will be posted on the campus Web site,, and regular announcements will be made at KUCR, 88.3 FM. A phone number has also been set up to deliver updates, at (951) 827-8479.

Those holding tickets to the Friday night ceremony should keep them as a way to enter any rescheduled event.

The following events were described at a press conference on campus Friday evening:

Timeline of Key Events

5:54 a.m.: Grounds staff found a smoldering palm tree near Life Sciences 1500, extinguished it, and identified two plastic bottles with possible flammable liquid near the palm. Grounds staff notified campus police.

6:00 a.m. - 6:25 a.m.: Campus police and fire marshal arrive on scene, establish and maintain crime scene perimeter.

8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.: State personnel found another suspicious device concealed in a planter near the south side of Life Sciences 1500. Cal Fire requested assistance from City of Riverside Police Department to investigate.

8:50 a.m. - 9:05 a.m.: State investigators determined no imminent threat in immediate vicinity; nevertheless, administrators on the scene decided to relocate approximately 250 students in Life Sciences 1500 to University Lecture Hall.

11:00 a.m.: Administration coordinated staff to distribute informational flyers to students, campus personnel, and other pedestrians in high-traffic area near Life Sciences 1500.

11:28 a.m.: Notice sent to campus community, graduating students, and to the media regarding the arson event and possible effects on commencement.

12:31 p.m.: Threat letter referencing 7 p.m. commencement ceremony was found adjacent to campus bookstore. Department of Justice was given notice.

1:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.: Administrators initiated the following communications: informed students in residence halls of situation, advising them to be cautious; cancelled final exams for remainder of the day; and established phone line bank for call-in communications.

1:59 p.m.: Second email distributed to campus community, KUCR, and website that incendiary device was disposed of.

3:20 p.m.: Campus administration agreed to cancel 7 p.m. commencement ceremony.

3:45 p.m.: Second hand-written letter was received reiterating threat against tonight's commencement.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

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