Graduation Location Raises Concerns

Taryn Talacka, Reporter

Dana DeLucca never expected to have to limit the number of family members she could invite to her graduation. With only six tickets, she’ll have to invite only a few people from her immediate family.

DeLucca, a senior communications major who wants to bring eight family members to her graduation, said the situation is unfair. She said she comes from an area where large families are common and doesn’t feel she should be penalized for it.

“It’s annoying because now I have to tell my grandparents that they can’t come to my graduation. My mom and I are trying to bring it up to them slowly.”

DeLucca said officials should look for venues other than the Anderson Sports and Health Center for the commencement ceremony. She said other schools, like Wilkes University and King’s College, use the Mohegan Sun Arena for their graduations. The arena would be able to accommodate more people and there wouldn’t be a six person limit per graduate.

“Why wouldn’t you do that now rather than later when you’re scrambling to find another place?” said DeLucca. “Every college uses the arena, and pretty soon, the arena’s not going to be able to accommodate any more colleges.”

DeLucca said the campus has recently experienced large class sizes, and those students are going to face problems in future years if commencement continues to be held in Anderson.

Paul Murphy, the Director of Campus Safety and Facilities, said he doesn’t know if the arena has been discussed as an option for graduation. He said the new football field wouldn’t be used for commencement, but it could be used for other events.

“The weather’s the biggest issue,” said Murphy. “If we were to have it outside, or any venue outside, and it rained, that would pretty much end commencement.”

A ceremony on Mangelsdorf field would cost the school a lot of money, Murphy said. Bleachers already hold about 3,000 people, but another 1,700 seats would have to be ordered. He said a stage without posts would have to be installed, so a structural engineer would have to be hired.

Murphy said the chairs would have legs that would sink into the field, so there would need to be a surface for the chairs to rest on. There would need to be power for the stage, the PA system and the speakers. He said women’s heels could potentially damage the field, and that would have to be taken into consideration, too.

In the case of inclement weather, Murphy said the Anderson Sports and Health Center would be the alternative plan.

“It would essentially be setting up two venues,” said Murphy. “We would be doubling our expense.”

Murphy said there is a ticket limitation because Anderson can hold about 3,200 people as well as the people on the stage. He said the building is also air-conditioned, it has bathrooms and it is protected from the weather.

“Anderson is the biggest venue that can accommodate commencement,” said Murphy. “Every year, we review the number of students we have graduating, and that dictates the number of tickets that are issued to each graduate.”

Murphy said rain and bad weather aren’t the only problem with having the cer- emony outside. He said it is common for people to not be able to stay outside for two hours, even if the weather is nice. The heat from the sun can have adverse effects on spectators.

DeLucca said an outdoor ceremony would be fine with her. She said her high school graduation was held outside.

“I honestly wouldn’t mind having it outside,” said DeLucca. “I can see why they didn’t want to have it outside because of weather issues and getting tents.”

DeLucca recommends having standing room in Anderson and allowing graduates to bring more people to the ceremony. She said students should receive six seating tickets and then there should be standing room for those who are able to stand for the whole ceremony.

Murphy said the Center provides accommodations for those who want to watch the ceremony but can’t be in the stands. He said the ceremony is broadcast all over campus, and it can be viewed wherever there is a television.

Murphy said the aerobics studio in the gym provides a quiet environment for those who have children. He said it is an alternative to sitting in the bleachers because children are able to make noise without interrupting the ceremony.

Classrooms in Anderson and Lemmond theater, which seat over 500 people, are other options, according to Murphy.

DeLucca still said the situation is still annoying because she wants to be able to choose who she wants to see her graduate.

“Everyone who I want to go should be there,” said DeLucca. “There’s not one person that I want to cut, and that’s what they’re basically making me do.”

DeLucca’s sister volunteered not to go to the ceremony so one of her grandparents would be able to attend, and her mother offered to have her stepfather stay home.

“My grandparents aren’t always going to be around,” said DeLucca. “Even if I do go on further in my education, they may not be able to see it.”

There is another option for DeLucca: she can buy tickets from another student or obtain extra tickets from the Registrar’s office. She said she does not want to insult any of her family members, so she will ask other students if they have extra tickets.

Murphy said students who have extra tickets sometimes turn them in so other students can use them.

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