In a sequel to last year’s frenzy, campus administration has once again insulted the student body by serving us with yet another false dichotomy. Keep commencement at the Oviatt Library – allowing up to seven tickets – or sabotage 15 years of Matador tradition and move commencement to the North Field, offering a potential nine to 13 tickets.
With these limited options, students are forced to make a decision that will result in a sacrifice: either an insufficient amount of tickets, or the loss of a sentimental staple – the Oviatt Library.
At the open forum that took place last week, the commencement panel stifled inquiring students by redundantly stating, “these are the options administration is willing to work with. At this time we are not interested in exploring alternative possibilities.”
Why not? Why is administration not willing to put in an effort to provide students with the experience past generations have cherished?
Commencement has traditionally produced a memory for graduates that become forever engrained in their college experience – we deserve that same experience.
Why are we being deprived of that? More so, why are we being told that these are our only options? It is clear there are a plethora of possibilities the president can explore if she is willing to maintain the tradition that has gathered and touched the lives of thousands of people.
I would like to make it clear that it is not my intention to neither create animosity toward President Harrison, nor suggest that she is ill-intentioned. Such a futile endeavor is not worth my time or effort.
I do, however, firmly believe there are justified grounds for us as students of this institution to question the decision making of our leader, in addition to the dubious tactics she is using.
We as students pay a $47 commencement fee, yet we are being told how our dollars will be delegated. When last year’s commencement changes were implemented there was a student outcry, questioning why the eight ceremonies were being reduced.
Once again, we are pleading; why will the President not grant us our eight ceremonies?
The ambition and vision of President Harrison is indefatigable; without a doubt, her leadership will continually catapult CSUN to a class of prestige and respect amongst other national universities.
She has turned to her experiences from the University of Alabama (UA) and Florida State to fuel her current vision. I admire her work ethic and drive, but what if students at California State University Northridge came here for what this campus has historically offered; the intimate experience where one does not become asphyxiated by the frenzy institutions such as UA are inundated with.
I agree, the UA has a nationally ranked football team that demands attention in ways CSUN has not yet experienced. Maybe they do have an alumni/a network that donate millions to allow self-sufficiency and perhaps, such institutions are respected and recognized nationwide.
If this is the vision you’d like to create, President Harrison, I applaud you. I refuse, however, to passively watch your endeavor at the expense of distinguished traditions our campus has become so proud of.
The commencement experience CSUN has offered its students is one not many others are fortunate enough to have. This very experience is what has kept Matadors beaming with pride and love for their campus. Do not take this away from us.
As reported in the open forum, students have a deeply rooted affinity to the Oviatt Library – a connection that has grown over several years – yet today we are faced with the strong likelihood that graduation will not be held in front of this iconic gem.
Truthfully, I am ready to stomach that reality if it is the general consensus of the student body. However, I’ll be damned to sit in silence while campus administration makes a decision based off options we never even asked for. Where is the democracy in that?
Year after year I have stood on the portico of the Oviatt Library, watching my peers walk across the stage as they reached the much-anticipated finish line of their college career. I promised myself that I, too, would one day cross that stage.
I know I am not the only one who values the spirit of the Oviatt. I challenge you, students of Cal State Northridge, to share your concerns. Make the effort to speak with your faculty regarding this pertinent issue. Connect with the dean of your college to show your concern, reach out to your student senators so your voices are brought into student government. These are only a few of the many vessels that can carry your voice to President Harrison’s administration.
I am a Senator for the College of Humanities and I will fulfill what I was called to do when I was sworn into my seat: to advocate for students. This is my duty. But I am only one of 43,000 students; I need your help.
I am asking you to take a moment to realize the magnitude of the decision that is being made. Even if it does not directly impact you at this juncture of your undergraduate career, I can guarantee it will affect you one way or the other.
Do not allow the President to strong arm us into a predicament we did not ask for. This is bigger than graduation, this is about protecting the culture we have grown to love here at CSUN.
As you move forward, Matadors, I admonish you to revisit the words of Leonardo da Vinci, spoken hundreds of years ago: “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”