EDITORIAL: University should have asked students first about graduation


Nicole Fowler - The State Hornet

Graduates stand at the spring 2017 commencement ceremony at Golden 1 Center. Sac State announced that graduation will take place over the course of three days for the Spring 2019 ceremony.

State Hornet

Well, Sac State, you’ve done it again.

Once again, our campus is going through a major change, and students are the ones who are suffering the consequences without ever having a say in the matter.

The recent announcement that winter commencement ceremonies will cease after this December’s wasn’t a decision that was made overnight. This is something that’s been in the works for a while now.

RELATED: Citing money concerns, Sac State pulls plug on winter commencements

It was determined that only one commencement per year is needed because of how expensive it has been, and they would continue to be held in the new location, Sacramento’s prized piglet known as the Golden 1 Center.

The other possible solution to this problem was to increase the cost of commencement fees for students. It is unendingly infuriating how many nickels and dimes students are asked to fork over, nevermind our overpriced caps and gowns.

Perhaps it is to be expected that Sac State students, like most others countrywide, be asked to pay for our own collective celebration along with everything else we pay for. Another loan could probably take care of it, after all.

But, barring a comprehensive reform to higher education in America (fingers and toes crossed), students will be given the bill over and over again. So what could have been done better this time?

Sac State had a golden opportunity to allow students to chime in on an issue that really matters to them, and they didn’t take advantage of it. So, instead of issuing a school-wide vote or, at the very least, informing us and asking for feedback, some of us will have no choice but to miss out on graduation.

RELATED: Ceasing winter commencements a lose-lose for students

There was a similar situation (as well as a chance to avoid this altogether) when Destination 2010 was initially proposed. Back in 2004, when the idea of a community event center was first conceived, students were allowed to vote on whether or not they approved of a fee increase that would be associated with building the new structure, as well as other campus improvements.

Fast-forward to 2017, all that came of that vote is The WELL, a health and fitness center that delivers on only half of the vague promises that were made by the Destination 2010 initiative.

So, with no on-campus option for the likely 7,000 or so eligible graduates for the next academic year, students should be prepared for a squeeze on tickets, longer ceremonies and unhappy families.

The University should prepare for disappointed students who will leave with a degree in the fall and never celebrate with their class, only further emphasizing the overwhelming feeling that we’re at the academic equivalent of a Costco. Except it takes four or more years to get through the checkout line, and there was never a free sample.

So, next time, ask students what they think before making such a big leap. Get some feedback, and take the backlash on the chin before you make the decision. Actually apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment, and recognize that, without the students, there would be no Sac State.

Moreover, admit it’s a money problem. What President Robert Nelsen’s letter failed to address is that the one thing most people (Sac State students in particular) can understand and empathize with is not having enough money to do what you want.