Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter to the Editor: President Jane Close Conoley Needs to Reinstate the Tradition that is Graduation

Life at Cal State Long Beach is pretty good; or at least it was until President Jane Close Conoley announced drastic changes to the commencement ceremonies.

Among the changes are plans to move the ceremonies from the Quad to George Allen Field.

Conoley told Academic Senate members that budget cuts caused these changes and the school would be saving $100,000.

“We have to save money on something and we don’t want to raise student fees,” Conoley said. “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.”

I and every other Long Beach student has worked each day to reach the goal of commencement, and the excitement has faded.

I’d pay to leave things as they are.

With over 5,000 signatures on an online petition demanding the return of live music, students clearly want live music at their graduation. Rather than remove it, the school could pass on some of the fees to students who are walking. If the school was to charge an extra $20 in student fees toward graduation, it would raise $95,360.

While Conoley mentions that she does not want to charge students more, the school is charging its graduates a $45 fee, which is $70 less than what Cal State Fullerton collects. Since we’re already paying to graduate, may I suggest increasing our fees to $70 just so we can have the graduation we’ve all dreamt about?

I notice that Provost Brian Jersky has written a response to the petition stating the school is looking to make the ceremony a safer one for patrons.

Mr. Jersky, with all due respect, there are options!

Every visitor gets the pleasure of experiencing the school the way we do every day. There are measures taken to ensure that students are able to reach their destinations. Couldn’t we do the same for our guests?

We’d like to share with them the beauty of Maxson Plaza and our “amazing” new “Go Beach” sign. I apologize about the sarcasm with the latter suggestion. But I digress.

I’m going to drag my friends and family around the campus either way. I’ve worked hard for nearly 32 years to earn my right to be on the stage I watched my brother and stepmother graduate on, and I deserve that moment.

Think back to your graduation. Imagine being a part of the class that gets stripped of tradition. Would you be happy? Is it OK to be part of the class that was a disaster? What about the record  102,000 applicants that are fighting to be a part of this amazing institution this fall? How many will be turned off by the news that the school is cutting corners at the expense of its students’ culmination?

Do the right thing, CSULB. Reinstate our glorious tradition and let us preach about it for years. To the rest of the student body, staff, faculty, alumni and future family members of the Beach, please email Conoley and let her know how you feel.

Sign the petition while you are at it as well.

Our school is great; this decision is not.

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