• UMass Dartmouth students celebrate graduation in wake of tragedy


    DARTMOUTH, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – It was a commencement to remember for UMass Dartmouth's Class of 2013.

    In the weeks leading up to the graduation ceremonies, the university became the focus of an FBI investigation after authorities learned Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a sophomore at the school. Three of Tsarvaev's friends who have since been charged in connection with the case were also once students at UMass Dartmouth.

    However, students, faculty, and staff used graduation weekend to "show the world a new UMass Dartmouth."

    Carly Wadsworth, who graduated Sunday, said the tragedy brought everyone closer together, while Samantha Collin, another graduating senior, was upset by the limited amount of tickets they received as a result of tightened security and other precautions.

    The bombings and subsequent investigation forced the university to limit the number of guests students could bring to two. All bags were searched and backpacks and laptops were banned from the ceremony.

    Rick McDowell, of New Bedford, said the stepped up security "seemed a little much."

    However, it is not the first time UMass Dartmouth officials have been criticized for school policies in connection with the investigation.

    Media outlets and some politicians questioned the school's decision to withhold information about the student suspects citing federal law on student privacy issues.

    "I'm very proud of the way we dealt with those. I'm proud of the way our students have dealt with those issues," said John Hoey, head of UMass Dartmouth's Public Affairs.

    In light of all that has happened the university remains UMass Dartmouth strong.

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