Jan 23, 2019

Commencement ceremony ticket minimum upsets students

Photo illustration by Michael Uribes

Graduation is getting closer, but for some students getting enough tickets to their commencement ceremonies for family can be troublesome.

Starting May 20, six of the eight colleges on campus and certain departments are holding commencement ceremonies for its students. Students will find these ceremonies from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day and all over campus. Trying to find adequate space for these ceremonies can be hard.

“It depends on the size of the college,” coordinator for student involvement Gary Nelson said. “The bigger ones go into the Save Mart Center and the smaller ones rotate out of the Save Mart and the Student Recreation Center.”

Currently the Kremen School of Education and the Craig School of Business always hold their commencements in the Save Mart Center, due to the size of the colleges.

Every year, the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology and the College of Social Sciences rotate in and out of the Save Mart Center.

When colleges or departments are held in smaller venues like the Satellite Student Union or the Student Recreation Center, a minimum ticket handout is put in place to ensure every student gets the same amount.

“We hold back the number of tickets needed for the students graduating,” Nelson said, “and then divide up the rest by how many students there are, to be given out to family.”

Sometimes students can get extra tickets by a friend, any left over at their department, or the day of the commencement, if the seats haven’t filled.

President John Welty, Provost William Covino, Dean of Student Affairs Paul Oliaro and Nelson get together with the Colleges and try to coordinate the commencements.
One of the reasons why everything is set up this way is because Welty and others try to make it to every college commencement to speak, so time is needed in between locations to make it possible.

What makes these commencements unique than the big university graduation is students get their names called out, they get to walk up and shake hands, and family can snap photos. During the university graduation, there is no walking or name calling.

“I feel like I am being cheated out of my graduation,” animal science major Carlie Hughes said. “I am really upset that I have to pick and choose who can come.”

This year the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology’s commencement is being held in the Student Recreation Center.

“I am the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college,” Hughes said. “All of my family has helped me get here, and now they all can’t see me walk.”

Some students like Hughes, live out of Fresno so just showing up the day of and hoping for a seat is unrealistic.

“It’s not about them [the administration],” Hughes said. “It’ about us. We did all this hard work, for what?”

Perhaps adjustments can be made to accommodate more students in getting the same graduation experience. Students in the Save Mart Center will find it fit for a ceremony, whereas those stuck in the gym maybe not so much.

“They need to reconsider how they handle graduation,” Hughes said. “And how they run a lot of things on campus.”

Other students aren’t affected as much by the four-ticket rule. Some students, like those graduating with a Mass Communication and Journalism department have not only a department ceremony but can attend the College of Arts and Humanities ceremony as well.

“I would rather have them hand out tickets and let every graduation student have some family there,” public relations major Ashley Kennett said. “If there were no tickets, some people may not even get seats.”

Having the extra commencement ceremonies alongside the big graduation hasn’t been around forever, but it is an event that some hope will stay.

“I love it!” Kennett said. “If at the main graduation they called out everybody’s name, it would take forever. This way we get both.”

Being with your department or college, gives students familiar faces to share the occasion. Having teachers and fellow students that you know makes the ceremony more intimate for graduates.

“It gives you a personal feel,” Kennett said. “I know most of everybody, I really like that feeling.”

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