Update on Commencement
Following last week’s announcement that the 2014 UC Irvine Commencement ceremony would be consolidated into a singular event, administrative officials revealed this past Friday that the individual school ceremonies at the Bren Events Center are to be reinstated once again.
“There has been some confusion regarding this year’s commencement,” Vice Chancellor Thomas A. Parham said in an email sent out to graduating students on Friday afternoon.
“This June marks the 50th anniversary of UC Irvine’s site dedication in 1964. We are commemorating this momentous event by holding an All-Graduate Commencement ceremony at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, June 14. This commencement has been planned in addition to the traditional school ceremonies every year. This year, school-based celebrations will be held on Sunday, June 15 and Monday, June 16 in the UC Irvine Bren Events Center.”
Students and family members rejoiced after hearing the news as last week’s announcement of the single ceremony had caused contention in the community.
Last week, a group of UCI students created a Facebook group called “UCI 2014 Commencement Protest,” where they advocated for current students, alumni and family members to sign a Change.org petition.
The petition urged for a return of the individual school ceremonies and expressed concern over the lack of student input when making decisions that affect the student body.
Throughout the week, the petition gained more support and recognition from a wide audience.
Soon after, ASUCI realized that many people were upset about the change, so the executive members decided to speak out on the issue.
On Tuesday, Feb. 25, executive members released a special graduation memo.
“We wanted to take a stance and tell administration that they needed to fix a situation that they created themselves, especially because no students were on the Commencement Committee,” Tony Tizcareño, vice president of administrative affairs, said.
The executives called for five demands: 1) The immediate reinstatement of individual ceremonies, 2) Student representation on the commencement committee and the 50th Anniversary committee, 3) Regular communication from UC Irvine administration on all decisions before decisions are made, 4) Regular and accurate communication with the entire student body regarding all commencement changes, and 5) A fund created to help reimburse families who have already made travel arrangements or purchased graduation announcements.
Additionally, the memo included a link to an anonymous EEE survey for students to express their concerns about the commencement change.
“With the Change.org petition, which was awesome, [admin] could say, ‘Well, we’re not sure if they’re all UCI students, or if they’re all graduating students,’ so we wanted to give them data,” Tizcareño said.
“With the EEE survey, you had to be a UCI student and it asks if you are a graduating senior.”
After the memo and the EEE survey started circulating, the commencement website was updated once again on Wednesday.
Administration told students that there would be school-based ceremonies in the areas surrounding Angel Stadium, and that CB Announcements would reprint announcements free of charge.
Finally, on Friday, February 28, Vice Chancellor Parham sent out the final announcement that the school-based ceremonies were back at the Bren – the first formal email issued by Student Affairs regarding the recent commencement issues. With the ceremonies back on Sunday and Monday, previously ordered announcements are valid once again. However, the 50th Anniversary Ceremony will still take place at Angel’s Stadium and tickets will be available soon.
Students can stay updated with Commencement and information regarding tickets at commencement.uci.edu.