President Jane Close Conoley said in an interview with the Daily 49er Wednesday, the spring 2019 commencement ceremony would be moved yet again. In just two months, graduates will walk the Jack Rose Track, instead of the intramural fields.
“I don’t think people will really care,” Conoley said. “Now we’ll be able to offer more tickets … some ceremonies won’t even require tickets.”
Conoley explained the change was made to better accommodate those using wheelchairs, and compared the surface on the intramural fields to “legos,” saying it was too bumpy at last year’s ceremony.
“I prefer the change…it will be easier to explain to [my family] where the ceremony is,” said accounting major Marie Baroudi. “Honestly, I don’t think upper campus [was] that awesome to have the commencement venue, and the Pyramid is right there.”
Last spring semester, Conoley received backlash from the campus community after she announced at a routine Academic Senate meeting that commencement would be moved from the Central Quad to the intramural field. She also added that live music would be removed from the ceremony last year.
“We have to save money on something and we don’t want to raise student fees,” Conoley said at the senate meeting Jan. 25, 2018. “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.’”
The president later released a statement and apologized for her choice of words.
“I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to voice their opinions on the proposed changes,” Conoley said in the statement last year. “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.”
After a protest, a relentless stream of complaints on social media and a petition on Change.org asking to keep the live “Pomp and Circumstance,” which garnered more than 5,000 students signatures, Conoley announced Feb. 11, 2018 that the live music would be reinstated. But the decision to move the location remained.