Students express frustration about graduation changes at A.S. open forum

Trevor Stamp

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Dozens of students expressed disappointment in the graduation changes that will affect the 2014 commencement ceremonies during a public forum on Monday at the Associated Students (A.S.) weekly senate meeting.

A.S. held the forum to hear student feedback on the commencement changes, which will provide each graduating student a maximum of four tickets and two parking permits.

Many of the students that spoke in the forum were against the new changes. Many students voiced that they should have been informed earlier about these changes, while others worried that four tickets would not be enough to divide among their family members.

“(Administration should)  look back to when they graduated,” said Lucio Simental, 26, graduate education studies major. “Who went to their graduations? They should put themselves in our place, and see how would they feel about it.”

A.S. has provided an online forum for students to continue voicing their opinions outside of the open forum.

In addition, A.S. President Christopher Woolett said that an ad hoc committee will be working together over the winter break to discuss student concerns about the new commencement changes, an action that he believes should ensure students’ opinions are valued.

“This winter break it is my hope to talk with the president and vice president of student affairs about what students have said and what they are continuing to say online. I think we could advocate for anything, that’s our purpose at Associated Students, to advocate for the students’ wants,” said Woolett. “If this many students are feeling very passionate about this then it’s our responsibility to go to the administration and say this is what students feel and this is what we are going to push for.”

While the open forum allowed students to voice their opinion about the new changes, the decisions and plans were already finalized and have no chance of being altered for 2014.

“For better or for worse, an administrative decision like this has never been open to student referenda,” said William Watkins, vice president for Student Affairs. “Let’s say we had surveyed students and students said to us, ‘We want to continue to invite as many folk as we want.’ What solution would that have been to the very problem that we’re trying to resolve? I really am not one that ever wants to hold out in front of students. But we made sure that before we finalized this, we did pull in a group of students to present it before those students and to hear their input on this, that did happen.”