Pomp and decorum: U.S. colleges say no to graduation 'selfies'

Fri May 9, 2014 9:55am EDT
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By Colleen Jenkins

(Reuters) - Ellen DeGeneres snapped "selfies" at the Oscars and President Barack Obama posed for one at Nelson Mandela's funeral, but some U.S. colleges have asked students to keep their cell phones tucked away during graduation season this month when they walk on stage for their diplomas.

Officials at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, one of several colleges trying to limit the spontaneous self-portraits that proliferate social media sites, said they asked graduates to preserve decorum at its May 17 commencement.

A handful of students drew laughs - and caught administrators by surprise - when they whipped out their smartphones for selfies on stage at last year's graduation, said university relations director Elizabeth O'Neil.

With 758 students due to graduate this month, the school decided to take action before things got carried away.

"We didn't want the ceremony to become longer than the 3 -1/2 hours it already is by having students pause to take photos," O'Neil said.

 She said pictures posted on social media with Bryant University's commencement hashtag also will be featured on a screen for families to see before the event.

Aaron Pereira, 22, a senior at Bryant who does not object to the new rule, expects a selfie-snapping frenzy as students don their robes and line up for the procession.

"It's an emotional day," said the accounting major from Chicopee, Massachusetts. "It's definitely something you want to capture."      Continued...

Host Ellen Degeneres takes a group picture at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson