Archive for Monday, May 18, 1992


May 18, 1992


Kansas University officials said KU's 120th commencement was a relatively safe, clean and dry affair.

"It went extremely well," KU Police Lt. John Mullens said. "From our standpoint, it went fairly smooth."

Mullens said graduates were relatively well-behaved, traffic was not too congested and there were no medical calls.

"Usually we have at least a couple of people who are on oxygen or something and they run out . . . and we have a call for a medical emergency," he said. "The weather may have something to do with it."

Cloudy skies and temperatures near 70 degrees kept graduates and visitors cool during commencement ceremonies. About 40,000 people filed into Memorial Stadium to watch commencement and about 2,000 more watched from Campanile Hill.

About 4,600 students took part in the ceremonies, officials said.

Although students were warned not to drink alcohol before and during the commencement procession, several students sipped beer and champagne before the procession began.

"I HAVEN'T had any problems with it," said Todd Parker, a Bellvue, Neb. journalism graduate who was having a beer with friends while waiting for the procession to begin.

"The KU police have always been really nice to students we haven't had any problems with it at all," he said.

Another student, journalism major Kristin Schultz, Ames, Iowa, who was pouring liquor into a soda can, stopped for a moment when approached by a reporter and said, "We thought you were the beer police."

Schultz, continuing to pour, said drinking was part of the commencement tradition.

"This and basketball are like the only times you can drink on campus and get away with it," she said.

At the senior breakfast on Sunday morning Del Shankel, executive vice chancellor, gave seniors some advice about alcohol consumption during commencement.

"If you've got it, please don't flaunt it," he said.

Police said that students who were drinking may have taken Shankel's advice.

"ALL AND ALL, the liquor thing went pretty well," Mullens said. "What little the officers poured out amounted to only a few containers each," he said.

No citations or arrests were made in connection with drinking violations, Mullens said. He also said KU police made no OUI arrests Sunday night or this morning.

Jim Mathes, assistant director of landscape maintenance for KU's facilities operations department, said this year's commmencement generated only a fraction of the trash produced at last year's ceremonies.

"The trash barrels were about two-thirds full by now," he said, while following the commencement procession and picking up bottles and cans on Memorial Drive.

"It's probably about one-fourth of what we had last year."

Mullens also said that traffic before and after the ceremonies moved more smoothly than expected, even though part of Ninth Street is closed for repairs.

"It went a little better than expected," he said.

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