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Arizona University guests to brave scorching sun for Obama’s speech

Washington, May 8 (ANI): President Obama will address the Arizona State University’s commencement on a day when temperature will hit 98 degrees. People who want to see Obama speak are likely to bake in sun for hours.

Around 65,000 people are expected to attend Obama’s address, and they are being told to come at least four hours in advance to clear security checks. Many are complaining.

Sharon Erickson, the mother of a graduate student receiving her masters’ degree on Wednesday, said she’s appalled.

“I’m an upset mother. People are very upset about this. There is no shade in the football stadium where the ceremonies will be held,” quoted Erickson, as saying.

Erickson added that her daughter is the first to earn a post-graduate degree in the family but that her 81-year-old grandfather won’t be able to attend because he can’t sit in the heat for that long.

The university is telling guests and graduates to begin arriving in groups starting at 3 p.m. local time that day. Bachelor’s graduates are supposed to arrive first, followed by master’s graduates at 3:30 p.m. Doctorate recipients are told to arrive a half-hour later, followed by all other guests at 4:30 p.m. Obama doesn’t speak until 7 p.m.

But university spokeswoman Terri Shafer said there’s nothing Arizona State can do.

“If we don’t do it that way, people will be jammed up at the gates. In an ideal world, we’d love to bring them in as late as possible. It’s just not physically possible,” Shafer said while adding that doors open four hours early to make sure that everyone can clear the metal detectors in time for Obama’s address.

She said the university would be providing water, as well as entertainment, for those stuck in the stadium for hours.

The university previously held graduation ceremonies in the indoor Wells Fargo Arena. Shafer said the university eventually was planning to move out of that arena because the crowds were getting too big, and that Obama’s arrival was an “incentive” to do so. (ANI)

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