OPINION: Ceasing winter commencement a lose-lose for students


Francisco Medina - The State Hornet

The Golden 1 Center, pictured, is the planned location for Sacramento State’s December 2017 graduation ceremonies. After this year, graduation ceremonies will only be held after the Spring semester.

Khanlin Rodgers

Last week, President Robert Nelsen announced that the graduation ceremony taking place at the end of this semester will be the last winter commencement held by Sacramento State.

He cited our campus as being the last of the ten largest in the CSU system to hold two commencements per year and the need for “flexibility” in order to open new opportunities for the University as justification for the decision.

He also noted that, unlike the $76 fee to have your graduation application reviewed for a few seconds by a counselor, walking during the ceremony isn’t actually a requirement to graduate.

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

Now, because of the change, all graduates from the entire academic year will walk together during the Spring Commencement.

While this resolves some financial issues for the University by preventing officials from spending yet another lump sum that they don’t have (here’s to you, Science II), it creates a couple of problems for the people to whom the graduation ceremonies matter most: the students.

One issue is that not everyone will even be able to attend their own graduation ceremony. Many soon-to-be graduates, myself included, don’t plan on staying in Sacramento long after our time at Sac State concludes. This can be due to a variety of reasons, ranging from financial limitations to job opportunities in other areas.

To assume that everyone from the fall semester will be around five months later to participate in the spring ceremonies is a grave oversight by our school.

RELATED: EDITORIAL: University should have asked students first about graduation

There’s also the matter of ticket availability. Between the scarcity of commencement tickets last spring, and Sac state reaching record numbers of enrolled students this semester, it’s apparent that our campus continues to grow. Now that we’ll only have one commencement per year, students who do manage to stick around will have to fight even harder to get tickets for their friends and family to witness one of life’s greatest milestones.

It’s important that we remember commencement ceremonies are more than just walking across a stage and receiving a piece of paper from the president of the University. It’s a symbol that represents not only the achievements of the individual, but the progress of our society as a whole. It wasn’t very long ago that certain people wouldn’t have even been able to attend a University, let alone receive a degree in a grand ceremony.

It seems that, once again, students received the short end of the stick with our campus’s latest decision. We shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of the situation in lieu of our school officials coming up with a proper solution or compromise that’s fair to everyone.