Graduation should stay off campus

The Wichitan

OUR VIEW: We believe the graduation ceremony should not be held on campus, rather stay at Kay Yeager Coliseum.

James Johnston, provost and vice president for academic affairs, has brought up the idea of bringing the graduation ceremony to campus. He proposed to hold it in D. L. Ligon Coliseum and to split the ceremony into two days, if the idea were to move forward.

We feel there will be a negative impact on the amount of space provided for the graduation. During graduation now, the graduates and faculty are able to prepare for the event in the Multi-Purpose Event Center, right beside Kay Yeager Coliseum. This utilizes the space so the graduates can get in the correct order to sit and walk across the stage. Having graduation on campus will limit the space to get them ready for their “big day.” The space to get the graduates ready is crucial, making sure they are in the right order can make or break the swiftness of graduation.

There will also be less room in D. L. Ligon Coliseum for spectators. Kay Yeager coliseum can hold about 7,380 people, but D. L. Ligon Coliseum can only hold about 3,640 people. There are many different sizes of families; some students have multiple siblings, stepparents, and extended family members. There were 502 graduates in December, even if we split that in half it would be 251. If we figure each graduate brings two parents, two siblings, and one set of grandparents, we are already out of space at D. L. Ligon. We do not think it would be right to force the graduates to limit the number of guests they can have at this event. There are also students and alumni who attend graduation. With the limited space, many of those students and alumni will be left out of seeing their friends graduate.

We understand that having the graduates finish their journey where they started is a good sentiment, but it is not feasible at this time. The common tradition of walking the graduates through their campus before they walk across the stage and receive their diploma is a great way to relive memories and see how far they have come, but the graduates should be able to have their loved ones at their graduation, instead of having to “pick favorites” and leave people out.

Graduation should stay at Kay Yeager Coliseum until we have the means to hold every guest (or at least most of them) of the graduates and the appropriate amount of space to corral the graduates. Having the MPEC at our fingertips and having double the seating space are enough to keep graduation at our fingertips.

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