Universities urge graduates to put away their smartphones

BY Dave Sloan  May 9, 2014 at 3:50 PM EST
Student snap a 'selfie' at a ceremony at Duke University in 2013. Photo by Flickr user Duke University School of Nursing

Student snap a ‘selfie’ at a ceremony at Duke University in 2013. Photo by Flickr user Duke University School of Nursing

With graduation season upon us, many students across the country will be proudly accepting their diplomas — but only under the condition that they will refrain from snapping any ‘selfies.’

Some university officials have said they will not tolerate students who pull out their smartphones to capture a quick photo of themselves while on stage.

Elizabeth O’Neil, university relations director at Bryant University in Rhode Island, said she “didn’t want the ceremony to become longer than [the] 3-1/2 hours it already is by having students pause to take photos.” Bowing to the popularity of social media, Bryant University said anything posted online with the hashtag “commencement” will be shown on a screen before the event for family and friends to see.

Administrators at the University of South Florida are less amused by the ‘selfie’ phenomena and have told potential graduates that if they cannot abstain from using their smartphones, the University has the right to withhold their degrees until further notice.

Other U.S. Universities have taken a less stringent stance on their ‘selfie’ policy. Kent State University in Ohio has created a ‘selfie zone’ during the commencement that will allow students to snap and flash as many shots as they need in expectation that graduates will wait until the ceremony is over.