Updates on Undergraduate Commencement Upset

by MEGAN DREHER, Features Editor

The Manhattan College Student Government has started a petition in order to change the 2019 Spring Commencement location from Draddy Gymnasium. This petition comes after an announcement made by the college that students will only be receiving two tickets for family and friends to gather inside of Draddy, and an additional two tickets for the alternate viewing locations.

In just 24 hours, the petition garnered over 2,000 signatures. As of 5:45 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11, there were 2,478 signatures.

Students commented on the petition as to why this location change is crucial, as the two ticket limit inside of Draddy is insufficient for their perspective guests.

“I am the first person in my family to go to college, and it wouldn’t have been possible without my parents, grandparents, and siblings. To have them at my graduation would be to honor them for helping me do something that was never a possibility for them and it is absurd that I need to choose between family members for graduation tickets,” said Samantha Wilson, a petitioner and graduating senior.

Those that signed the petition, including community members, family, friends and alumni of the college, stated other reasons for the unfair change in the comment section as well.

“I am signing this petition because this practice is exclusionary. Families are not just mother and father. They include siblings, grandparents and extended family that have supported the graduate’s journey possibly from birth to this moment. It is a culminating event which opens the door for the next chapter – the ‘real world.’ This includes putting all the theory and knowledge gained at this institution into practice as they go to work and start finding their place in society,” said Carmen Vazqueztell, a member of the surrounding community.

This petition comes after considerable pushback from students who were surprised about the decrease of tickets available, considering that the Class of 2019 is one of the largest graduating classes in the college’s history.

“[The] goal of the petition was to spread awareness of the issue and gain power in numbers for when the problem is reassessed,” said Bailey Shaw, a student representative who has spoken to administrators about the issue at hand.

While most of the administrators that were invited to meet with students who wished to voice their concerns, Shaw felt as though there was no solution in sight.

Alternate locations were proposed, such as Radio City Music Hall, where Pace University hosts their graduation, or the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden, where both Iona and New York University host their graduation.

Though Shaw did not see administrators push for immediate change, she hopes administrators will hear students’ concerns and act in the near future.

“I hope that everyone’s families and loved ones are able to see them graduate in person and be in the room where it happens. We will continue to fight on and hopefully the administration will do what’s right for its students.”

Student Government plans to have administrators in attendance at their upcoming assembly meeting at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 14 in Kelly 5C. All students are welcome to voice their concerns.

This topic will continue to be covered in upcoming issues of The Quadrangle. Please continue to follow for more coverage.