Changes to CSUN graduation ceremonies debated

Demi Corso

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CSUN students voiced their opinions and concerns and proved they would rather graduate at the front of the Oviatt Library, rather than the North Field located near the Matadome.

The discussion was held as part of an open forum on Nov. 4 at the Balboa Room of the University Student Union (USU).

Associated Students (AS) held the forum with students to discuss the possibility of adding the North Field as an additional venue for 2015 commencement.

Overcrowding was an issue last year, as there were more tickets given out than the Oviatt Library had capacity for. The Oviatt Library venue has a capacity of 9,180, while the North Field location has a capacity of 15,300, said Patrick Bailey, director of student involvement and development.

Students gave sentimental anecdotes about the importance of the Oviatt Library and their personal connections with the location.

Josh Khabushani, a senior philosophy major, said every student in some way had an emotional connection to the Oviatt. He told a personal account of his connection with the Oviatt and how he and his friend sent photographs to their mothers of the Oviatt, picturing when their time will come to graduate at the spot.

“The Oviatt’s a huge hallmark for the CSUN campus and students,” Khabushani said.

Another student explained freshman convocation and how they were told they were walking down the Oviatt steps to a journey, and in four years they will walk up with a diploma.

George Reyes, a senior journalism major, became emotional during his personal account about feeling lost as a freshman and how the Oviatt was his place to go when he got lost.

“I used to get lost all of the time and I would go back to the Oviatt,” Reyes said. “That was the only way I could find where I was … I would always go to the Oviatt, that was my hub.”

Although there were mixed reviews from students on whether or not undergraduate and graduate ceremonies should be separate or mixed, the majority of students said the ceremonies should be held in front of the Oviatt.

There are four commencement options that were sent in a survey emailed to students. Students have the option of voting for the option they like the best.

Option A- Oviatt Library location, mixed graduate and undergraduate ceremonies with 5-7 tickets per graduate depending on your ceremony date and time.

Option B- Oviatt Library location, separate graduate and undergraduate ceremonies, 4 tickets for graduate students and 5-7 tickets for undergraduate students.

Option C- North Field location, mixed graduate and undergraduate ceremonies with 9-13 tickets per graduate depending on your ceremony date and time.

Option D- North Field location, separate graduate and undergraduate ceremonies, 7 tickets for graduate students and 9-13 tickets for undergraduate students.

Kyle Shaver, a senior computer science major, is a second generation CSUN student. He explained the importance the Oviatt Library has in pop culture.

“We have a lot of movies and TV shows that are filmed in front of the Oviatt, so whether they know it or not, they automatically have that connection with something they’ve seen before,” Shaver said.

The Oviatt Library has been featured in films including “Star Trek” and “Sky High,” and has been seen in television shows such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Shaver was one of the students who felt like separate ceremonies for graduate and undergraduate students diminishes the culture of the college.

“This is the iconic piece of Northridge,” he said. “I feel like that’s a great place to bookend the experience: you see it when you come in, you see it when you go out.”

Graduate students voiced concerns about their ceremonies being mixed with undergraduate ceremonies. Graduate students were also concerned about the number of tickets they will receive.

Not only will this survey affect 2015 commencement ceremonies, but it also has the possibility of affecting future commencements at CSUN.

Tiffany Zaich, AS president, and Talar Alexanian, AS vice president, made up half of the panel which included Bailey and Shelley Ruelas, associate vice president of student life.

In the past, Bailey said, commencement has been held at other locations on campus, including the North Field. In 1989, commencement was even held at the Hollywood Bowl, which has a capicity of 17,376, according to Eventful.

The goal of AS is to make a decision by Dec. 1. The decision will be shared via email and the AS website.

AS holds open senate meetings at 9 a.m. Mondays, usually in the Grand Salon of the USU.

The deadline for students to submit their feedback on the issue is 5 p.m. Nov. 10.