Ceremony Policies & Regulations

Towson University has established ceremony guidelines to maintain the decorum of Commencement ceremonies, as well as safety measures to ensure the protection of graduates, guests, faculty and staff who attend. Learn more about these protocols and what to expect the day of the ceremony.

Arena Security 

To maintain safety at major events SECU Arena, the following procedures went into effect on Sept. 10, 2016. The procedures were established based on a review of TU’s security measures and an assessment of best practices at similar institutions and event destinations across the country.

Bag size limit and bag checks

Bags will be checked prior to event entrance, and bags larger than 14 x 11 x 4 inches will not be permitted in the arena. Guests with bags or other prohibited items will not be able to stow their items, and will be asked to discard these items or return them to their vehicle. Boxes that are 14 x 11 x 4 inches will be available at the entrance to the arena for size reference. Prohibited items include:

  • alcohol, food or beverages
  • animals (with the exception of service animals)
  • audio or video recording equipment
  • bags/purses larger than 14 x 11 x 4"
  • Bota bags, wineskins or flasks
  • balloons, confetti, streamers, glitter, fireworks, etc.
  • balls, bikes, hoverboards, roller blades, scooters, etc.
  • cameras with lenses greater than 8"(including monopods and tripods)
  • cigarettes, vapes, etc.
  • containers, coolers, flasks, baskets, etc.
  • drones or airborne devices
  • illegal drugs
  • knives over 3” in length
  • laser pointers, markers, dry erase boards, paint, etc.
  • noisemaking devices
  • open umbrellas
  • sticks or poles, including selfie-sticks
  • weapons (common examples include, but are not limited to: aerosol cans, mace, pepper spray, firearms, including CCW permit holders, pocket knives, knives, spiked bracelets, brass knuckles, martial arts weapons, stun guns, and chains)

Metal Detection

Handheld metal detectors operated by Safe Management (security staff contracted by the university) employees will be used to check guests prior to event entrance. When attending an event, please give yourself adequate time for going through the safety procedures.
Get more information on event procedures at Unitas Stadium and campus safety prevention.

Ceremony Policies for Graduates

  • Graduation candidates at commencement must wear regalia including: black caps with black tassels, black gowns and lined black hoods. Regalia Guidelines were developed to allow for graduate individuality without detracting from the overall dignity of the ceremony.
  • Graduates may wear/drape a maximum of three stoles or cords representing Towson University academic honors or university-recognized student activities and organizations. For example, graduates may choose to wear one stole and two cords, two stoles and one cord, three of either item, or none at all.
  • Graduating students should leave jackets, purses, boxes, backpacks, and/or bags at home or with guests. Students may only take a mobile phone, and (if desired) a small, thin cross body bag into the ceremony.  If student chooses to use a cross body bag, it must be worn under the gown.
  • All graduates will be required to show their TU student ID (OneCard) or another form of official identification in order to receive the name card needed to participate in the processional.
  • Graduates who do not present their OneCard (or other official form of identification) will be directed to the Participant Verification station where a staff member will verify the student's identity and authorization to participate in the ceremony.
  • Fraudulent activity or misrepresentation of information or eligibility to participate in commencement may result in disciplinary action through the TU Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education

Ceremony Policies for Guests

  • Doors open for guests 90 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony (8:30 a.m. for the morning ceremonies and 1:30 p.m. for the afternoon ceremonies). All seating is first-come first -served, general seating. There is no assigned seating in any sections of the arena.
  • Any seating that is being held or reserved by a guest in the arena must be released 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony to seat other guests. Please note, special needs seating and reserved section seating (Sections 104 & 106) will be held until the start of the ceremony.
  • Guests should remain in their seats for the duration of the ceremony (approximately two hours).
  • Guests are not permitted to stand on the concourse level to watch the ceremony and will be directed to a seat.
  • Guests should not block the aisles or passageways by attempting to greet or take photos with graduates.
  • To allow for the names of all graduates to be heard by their family members and guests, we ask all audience members to be considerate of other graduates’ guests by providing no more than 2 to 3 seconds of celebration or applause for their graduate. Guests who bring or use signs, fireworks, beach balls, balloons, air horns, bells or noisemakers will be asked to leave the arena.


In the event of an emergency, please contact University Police (410) 704-4444 and/or 911. The following coordinates can be used when giving the location of SECU arena 39.38980 -76.61565 or 7500 Osler Blvd. Towson University will provide a first aid station inside the arena in case of emergency.

Inclement Weather

Should inclement weather occur, please check the local radio and TV stations for announcements regarding delays. You may also call TU at 410-704-2000 or 410-704-NEWS (6397), or check weather announcements via TU’s homepage. Please note that once a ceremony has started, it will not be canceled.