By Aya Abdelmoamen, Din Gjidija, Navita Nauth, and Stepanie Rivas
The John Jay administration decided to keep the graduation walk after all. Graduating seniors will now be able to have their names called individually as they walk across the stage.
On Feb. 25, Thomas Stafford, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs, announced that the 2013 graduating class would discontinue the traditional ceremony of having students walk during commencement. The proposed changes included shortening the ceremony and instead have students collectively stand up by graduating degree.
In an email to John Jay Students and Faculty, Stafford said, “In attempts to make the ceremony shorter and more enjoyable, changes have been made…The recipients of a particular degree will be asked to stand together as their degrees are conferred by the President…Students will also have an opportunity to take an individual photograph with the president at the end of the ceremony.”
The ceremony changes eventually gained popularity with the student body. In a survey of 100 John Jay students, 67 students said they were opposed to the changes, 24 said they supported it, and 9 said they didn’t know or didn’t care.
After the Student Transition Programs organized and hosted town hall meetings, students started to voice their anger about the new graduation schedule. They fired away with questions and comments about their disapproval. Manny Singh, junior, said, “I disagree with it because my family would love to see me on the stage and for the change to happen it would be taking away a special moment from me and my family.”
Petitions started to go around the school in attempts to change the decision. As a result, on March 19, President Travis sent out an email to students and faculty stating that the administration would restore the practice of calling each student by name during the ceremony.
Tameisha Laudat, senior, feels more confident about her achievement now that she will have her moment at graduation once again. “I feel like it’s the best thing to do because after four years of college, [students] want to be recognized for their accomplishments and hearing their names is one of them.”
However, there are still a few who think the changes were for the better and that the administration should do something about the length of the commencement ceremony.
Executive Director of Student Affairs, Paul Wyatt, explained some of the chaos that goes on during graduation. “Some go back to their seats, some take off, some go back to their seats and then moments later would take off, creating a traffic issue,” he said. “I’ve been at John Jay for 30 years and I’ve seen about 30 graduations here and it just gets progressively worse.”
But Students still believe that graduation is their time, no matter the length of the ceremony and that those few moments on the stage help to enforce all their hard work they endured to reach this point.
“It is an individual accomplishment for me [to walk at graduation] because I work full time and I go to school at night…I don’t know all these people in my political science major so that individual day is mine, for me,” Yannira Sauceda, senior, said.