After receiving backlash from students over the decision to cut live music and move the location of the Cal State Long Beach commencement ceremony, President Jane Close Conoley issued a statement on the CSULB Newsroom that was posted to Twitter Friday announcing the reinstatement of live music.
“I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to voice their opinions on the proposed changes,” Conoley said in the statement. “These events are among the most important in the life of our campus, and the effects of these special days are far-reaching, so my team and I take each concern seriously.”
Provost Brian Jersky sent an email blast the same day to all campus members announcing that the ceremony would be moved to the intramural fields. He listed the reasons for this were to increase security and safety, decrease the number of ceremonies, provide better access with closer parking lots and provide large screen monitors to view graduates.
Conoley also submitted a letter to the Daily 49er three days after the original article broke the news commencement would be moving from the Central Quad and go without live music due to budget cuts.
Some commented on the article online.
“I can guarantee that the MUSIC MAJORS who play the live music are not costing $13,000,” an anonymous commenter wrote. “What a disrespect to the music department.” Melanie Valenti said: “I am ashamed to go to a college that treats their graduating class with such disrespect.”
The article, first published Feb. 6, received attention from both students and faculty and prompted an online petition on Change.org shortly after, which had garnered over 5,000 signatures by Sunday.
Comments by students conveyed the opinions of those who chose to weigh in on the petition.
“It’s supposed to be a happy day,” Change.org user Patricia Pittman wrote. “Me and so many of my fellow colleagues are first generation college students who have worked countless hours to be able to graduate, and you’re going to allow it to be a disaster?”
The comment was made in response to a quote by Conoley in an article by the Daily 49er, regarding the 2018 commencement.
“We have to save money on something and we don’t want to raise student fees,” Conoley was quoted in the article. “If it’s a disaster, that will be a story for those students to tell. They’ll say we were the class of 2018 and it was a disaster.”