If you’re planning to attend Barnard Commencement, get ready to be searched/checked/wanded/stripped/violated-in-all-sortsaways. To avoid the possibility of a nightmare scenario, Columbia University Commencement and Barnard College have been working with The White House and the Secret Service in order to ensure the security of POTUS. This means almost every gate, sidewalk, window, and building will be closed next Monday. Plan your travel routes according to this list sent in from an anonymous Agent Smit—… an anonymous tipster. If you’re not a senior and just procrastinating in Butler, you should still check out how thoroughly this is going down. Also, be on the lookout for rooftop guards that resemble statues in the next few days.

Dear Colleagues:

As you may know, President Barack Obama will be on campus Monday, May 14 for the Barnard College ceremony on the South Field Lawns beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Columbia University Commencement and Barnard College planning team members have been working closely with the White House and Secret Service team to finalize plans. As expected, the President’s visit will require extensive security measures. The following information details campus logistics, as of today, Monday, May 7.


Monday, May 14, Midnight – 6:00 a.m.

  • All gates south of 117th Street, Low Plaza, College Walk, South Field and the following buildings must be vacated and locked down. There will be no entry or activity permitted [Unless you want to get tasered].
  • Lower campus: Journalism, Furnald, Lerner Hall, Carman, Butler Library, John Jay, Wallach, Hartley, Hamilton, and Kent
  • Upper campus: Low Library, Kent, Dodge Hall and Miller Theater
  • Earl Hall (117th Street and Broadway) and Chapel gates (117th Street and Amsterdam Avenue) will be open to allow entry to upper campus [Only if you say the password. The password is boogie shorts].

Monday, May 14, 6:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

  • College Walk and Low Plaza will remain closed until President Obama has left the campus, at approximately 3:00 p.m.
  • Entry to lower campus and its buildings will be restricted. Those permitted to enter lower campus will be required to pass through magnetometer screening, specific locations for entry to be determined. Large bags and liquids will not be allowed. Access will be limited to the following groups:
  • Faculty or staff with a University ID card and a University-issued letter to verify they work in a lower campus building [This letter self-destructs upon opening].
  • Barnard College ceremony participants, graduates or guests with tickets.
  • Event staff working at the Barnard College ceremony with University-issued credentials.
  • Access to Low Library, Dodge Hall, and Kent will be permitted via security screening.
  • Entrance to Low Library will be through the southeast door (Public Safety entrance) only.
  • Entrance to and exit from Dodge Hall and Kent will be through the main building doors on upper campus only. The College Walk doors will be locked.
  • The passage way between Philosophy and Kent will be secured [You feelin lucky?].
  • All other buildings on upper campus will follow normal University operations. Faculty, staff and students going to upper campus locations should use the following campus entry points:
  • Earl Hall Gate at 117th Street and Broadway
  • Chapel Gate at 117th Street and Amsterdam Avenue
  • Grove entrance at 119th Street and Amsterdam Avenue (CUID required)
  • 120th Street gate
  • Northwest Corner stairs at 120th Street and Broadway
  • Northwest Corner Building entrance at 120th Street and Broadway (disability accessible campus entrance)


  • Windows in all offices or rooms facing South Lawn must be closed during the ceremony [Anyone cracking their window to smoke weed will be sniped with a tranquilizer] .
  •  College Walk, Low Plaza, and the 116th Street gates at Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue will be closed 12:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Monday.
  • 114th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic, beginning at midnight until midday Monday. The south sidewalk will remain open for pedestrian traffic.
  • The west sidewalk of Amsterdam Avenue along campus may be closed on Monday for portions of the day. The east sidewalk will remain open for pedestrian traffic. Vehicular traffic on Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway may be subject to disruption at various times throughout the day.
  • The Amsterdam Avenue overpass between upper and east campus will be closed 6:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Monday.
  • Butler Library will be closed from Sunday at 10:00 p.m. through Monday at 3:00 p.m. Butler Blue Java will be closed Monday [Obama preferred Brownies].
  • Administrative Mail delivery to Lower Campus will be suspended on Monday. Critical mail will be available for pickup. Contact Mail Services at 212-854-2081 to coordinate.
  • Student Mail pickup will be suspended and the Lerner Hall Student Package Center will be closed Monday.
  • All deliveries to and from lower campus, including Columbia Print and external couriers, will be suspended Monday until 3:00 p.m. Please schedule deliveries accordingly. We encourage deliveries to Low Library, Dodge Hall and Kent to be held until this time as well.
  • The Intercampus Shuttle 116th Street, Northbound stop will be moved to 117th Street on Monday until 3:00 p.m [You can also borrow the President’s limo].

We will share final campus logistics with the University community later this week, following a walk through with White House officials. Please be aware campus logistics may change at any point, subject to White House and Secret Service discretion. Continuous updates will be posted online as well.

Please determine how the aforementioned restrictions, cancellations, and suspensions may affect your business operations, and develop plans and communications accordingly. Please feel free to circulate this message to members of your teams as you prepare [Carrier pigeons will be supplied].

On behalf of the Columbia University Commencement and Barnard College planning teams, we thank you for your patience and support given these extraordinary circumstances.


James F. McShane, Vice President

Columbia University Public Safety

Carrie Walker, Executive Director

University Programs and Events