With Obama delivering address, Rutgers students upset over commencement ticket limit

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Anthony Johnson reports on the limit on tickets at Rutgers graduation, where the commencement speaker will be President Obama. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP )

Graduation day celebrates years of hard work and dedication, but some in the Rutgers New Brunswick class of 2016 feel they are being short-changed because each grad is only receiving three tickets for guests.

"I'm a little upset," senior Alanna Noor said. "I have a lot of siblings that aren't going to be able to watch me graduate."

The three-ticket limit is due to the fact that President Barack Obama is the commencement speaker, marking Rutgers' 250th anniversary. The president's appearance on May 15 means more people want to witness the graduation.

Dylan Samuel says relatives traveling from around the world will not be able to attend.

"Maybe 16 people in total, unfortunately, they booked their tickets," he said. "But only my brother and my parents can come to commencement, which breaks my heart."

School officials say the ticket limit is being dictated by the math -- with 12,000 students on the athletic field, 36,000 friends and family sitting in the stands and another 4,000 coming from the Rutgers Newark and Camden campuses.

"The fact that we're letting in a number of students from Rutgers-Camden as well as Rutgers-Newark makes them feel like they're intruding on their commencement," junior Elijah Reiss said. "But in reality, we're all under the same Rutgers umbrella."

The class of 2016 has a Facebook page where students have been expressing their frustration.

"I am an out-of-state student with family coming in from far away to be at graduation," student Heather Smith posted. "If anyone is selling graduation tickets, message me!"

Another post reads, "My siblings can't go now, and all I needed was five tickets. Very disappointed."

"I think people are upset because they wanted to bring a lot of people to come see the president speak," senior Evan Murphy said. "And you can't always get what you want in life."

Established in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is America's eighth oldest institution of higher learning. It enrolls more than 67,000 students each year.
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educationbarack obamarutgers universityNew Brunswick
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