Official: Kings, City discussing designating Sac State graduation a civic event


The Golden 1 Center, pictured, is the planned location for Sacramento State’s May 2017 graduation ceremonies. The city, the Sacramento Kings and the university are currently discussing labeling the commencement as a civic event in order to bring down the cost to the school, according to a city official. (Photo by Francisco Medina)

John Ferrannini

The city, the Sacramento Kings and Sacramento State are discussing categorizing May’s graduation ceremonies at Golden 1 Center as a civic event — in a move that would cut in half a roughly $100,000 shortfall the school has in paying for the commencement — according to a city official.

Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said in an email to The State Hornet that the option is being considered. It was first raised by a Sacramento Bee editorial Wednesday after it was revealed that Sacramento State did not know how to pay for about $100,000 of the roughly $200,000 cost of putting on the ceremony.

If the city declared the graduation a civic event, the school would not have to pay $50,000 in rental fees to the Sacramento Kings.

“Under the lease agreement between the city and the Kings, the city has the right to use the arena for civic events, at no cost, for up to nine times per year,” Dangberg said in an email. “However, for those nine events, the city pays the Kings for their out-of-pocket facility costs (with no markup) for items such as staff, utilities, security, food, ticketing, tabling, floor removal and clean up.”

The proposal picked up steam Thursday when Steve Hansen, the city councilman who represents the district containing the downtown arena, said he would be in favor of the idea.

“There’s no question that this graduation is an important event for our city and should benefit from our agreement with the Golden 1 Center,” Hansen said to The State Hornet.

Councilman Jeff Harris said through a spokesperson that he would be interested in meeting with Sac State President Robert Nelsen “to see how the city can be helpful.”

Nonetheless, Dangberg said that it wouldn’t be up to the Sacramento City Council to decide whether the graduation would be designated as a civic event.

As of press time, Dangberg has not responded to a question about who would be responsible for the decision.

Sacramento State spokesperson Elisa Smith said that the school “greatly appreciates” the consideration.

As of Friday, the school had not considered potential sources of funding for the shortfall.