- Associated Press - Friday, April 18, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Rhode Island’s Bryant University is asking graduates to resist the urge to take selfies with its president when receiving their diplomas to prevent the already long ceremony from dragging on.

University President Ronald Machtley said students ask him to take selfies on the Smithfield campus all the time. Although Machtley, who is active on social media, loves posing for pictures with the students, he said having 800 students stop to snap photos with him would back up the graduation ceremony, which already is more than 3 hours long.

“If a student asked me for a selfie on stage, I wouldn’t say no,” he said Friday. “The university is saving me from myself.”

If students want to pose with him after the May 17 ceremony, they are more than welcome to, he said.

Selfies of President Barack Obama posing with Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and of Ellen DeGeneres cozying up with other celebrities at the Oscars have exploded on social media. Bryant students won’t be punished if they decide to whip out their cellphones on stage, but Machtley said he’s confident they’ll respect the university’s wishes.

The university’s director of conferences and special events, Sheila Guay, said students taking photos of themselves onstage would take away from the ceremony and ruin any photos family members want to capture of them receiving their degrees.

“There is a time and place for them, and here is just not one of them,” Guay said.

Students and families will be able to take photos and post comments to a website hosted by the university up until the start of the graduation but not during it.

Although some seniors might be upset by the no selfies rule on stage, senior Ali Luthman, of Worcester, said, “no one is crying about it.”

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