An Opinion Piece on UCR’s 2020 Commencement Ceremony

I would like to start out this article by saying that these opinions are completely my own. These are not a reflection of the University of California, Riverside’s views on the topic. 

I write this piece with an extremely heavy heart, the following is a summary of the changes as accounted by ASUCR president Julian Gonzalez. On October 14th at an ASUCR Senate meeting, the Dean of Students, Christine Mata, and Assistant Vice Chancellor of Alumni and Constituent Relations Jorge Ancona announced some very polarizing changes to the class of  2020 commencement ceremony. They said the ceremonies would be held off campus at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, they have cut the amount of ceremonies down from 6 to 3, and they did not give an answer as to how many tickets each student would receive. Most troubling of all, they announced that the names of the graduating students would not be said aloud.

(Photo via UCR Today)

 

With changes this big being made to an event meant solely for the celebration of the hardworking students and families, it is shocking to know that no student was asked, consulted, or surveyed about this decision. The ASUCR Senate themselves were blindsided with this announcement, and were informed that the venue had already been paid for. This is a sad attempt to silence the voices of the students, without whom the university could not exist. University administrators have been guilty countless times of ignoring student opinions, and they believe that they can do it again.

 

As a student hoping to graduate in 2021, I was absolutely appalled to read the news this morning. I am not the biggest fan of graduation ceremonies, but I do admit that I have often daydreamed about the feeling I would get when I heard my name and walked across the stage to be handed a frame without my diploma in it and shake hands with an important faculty member. I was excited to be my abuela’s first grandchild to graduate from college, for my parent’s to be able to say that they raised a second generation college student. I was excited for my mom especially, who was an immigrant, first generation college graduate herself from a University of California, and for these accomplishments to be celebrated when my family could cheer for me the moment they heard my name. But I have been told I will be robbed of this experience and that my family will too. That every student and family from the graduating class of 2020 and onward would be robbed of this small recognition of years of work.

(Photo via UCR Today)

 

I humbly ask that you stand with the students of UCR and sign the petition linked at the bottom of this article. Our ASUCR president has put together a wonderful statement, petition, and survey that I believe have the power to reverse this decision. Students need to force the university to work for the students, not for the administrators. If you are a UCR student, I highly recommend you come to the protest at the belltower, Monday October 19, to stand in solidarity with your fellow students.

 

Petition: Embracing Tradition for UCR Commencement