Class councils hold town hall on graduation alternatives

One student proposes ticket sharing system


Third-year Class president Will Laverack (above) helped organize a town hall to gauge student opinion about Final Exercises alternatives.

The Class Councils of 2015, 2016 and 2017 held a town hall style discussion in the Newcomb Ballroom Tuesday evening to discuss the various alternatives for Final Exercises during upcoming Rotunda renovations.

The $50 million dollar project is set to begin in May and last until the spring or summer of 2016. The Rotunda’s restoration will disrupt normal graduation proceedings, limiting the available walkways and access to the Lawn from the north side of the Rotunda.

The discussion included a panel, which consisted of members of the graduation advisory committee — a makeshift group of students and administrators who have worked to develop new proposals for Final Exercises and bring them to a vote for the classes affected. The panel included Third Year Council president Will Laverack, a College student, as well as Dean of Students Allen Groves, Chief Facilities Officer Donald Sundgren, Patricia Lampkin, vice president for student affairs, and members of the Second Year Council.

Before discussing the options and opening the floor to comments from the audience, Sundgren specifically addressed suggestions of postponing construction temporarily during graduation.

“There is no way to phase the work — we looked at doing it wing by wing but we just couldn’t do that,” Sutherland said. “It would run the costs up significantly, its already a $50 million project to begin with.”

The panel then addressed concerns about the three options proposed.

The first plan, holding the ceremony on the Lawn on a single day, would restrict tickets for graduates’ friends and families to two per person. While this option would uphold tradition, it would force more people to watch the ceremony at remote viewing areas.

One student present proposed moving forward with this plan but adding a ticket sharing system. Groves expressed optimism about the idea.

“One of your peers has actually built a ticket-sharing app that connects those that have one to give and those that need extras, so I could definitely see something like that come into play,” he said.

The second plan, separating the ceremony across two days — with one day for the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and another day for the other schools — was the topic of several questions regarding logistics.

Though the ceremony would be less crowded if it happened over the course of two days, students also voiced concerns only three tickets will still be allowed and a majority of the space would be apportioned as standing room only — which is similar to the current system.

The third option would have graduates walk the Lawn but continue on to Scott Stadium for the ceremony. This option would add a ¾ of a mile walk but would provide unlimited guest tickets.

Laverack stressed the need for student participation in a survey released by University President Teresa Sullivan by email a few days ago. The survey, which will open April 16 and close April 22, lays out the three options and may set the precedent for future Final Exercises ceremonies, when the Lawn’s capacity may eventually be outstripped by growing class sizes.

Correction: A previous version of this article quoted Will Laverack as saying the two ceremonies would have separate speakers. This detail has yet to be determined.

Published April 14, 2014 in FP test, News

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