Student Government Association will host a commencement informational forum at 7 p.m. April 10 in Room 168 (the small auditorium) of Brooks City-Base Campus to raise awareness about a recent administrative decision to have one spring graduation commencement ceremony.
Previously the University held two annual commencement ceremonies.
University Communications sent students a commencement survey April 6 through Jaguar email that posed six questions. The survey introduction states that by having “a single, large commencement ceremony located at the Freeman Coliseum in May, we will be able to eliminate the need for admission tickets, and remove the restrictions on the number of friends and family members that can attend the commencement ceremony.”
The survey, which can only be filled out by registered students with a valid student ID (K number), is aimed at collecting feedback and is open to all students until April 16.
SGA President Zaira Rodriguez said in an email April 8 that the forum will promote the survey and allow students to give feedback, comments and concerns in regards to having one ceremony.
“We want to make sure the entire student body is aware that their concerns are being taken into consideration,” Rodriguez said.
“Considering that there were changes made, previously, without the students’ feedback, the administration is now trying to figure out what is that the students would like to have. The survey responses will definitely be taken into consideration when decisions are being made by the administration,” she added.
Rodriguez said that SGA can’t guarantee 100 percent that what the students bring to this forum will impact decisions the administration has already reached. But, she said, student opinion “has always been taken into consideration when making decisions.”
“This is why SGA hosts these forums,” Rodriguez said, “so that we know what it is that the students want, need and would like to see taken care of.”
Rodriguez said that the forum will also allow students to have a one-on-one meeting with SGA members, who will address posed questions at the forum.
Rodriguez said that SGA wants to make sure that any decisions or changes made to commencement ceremonies are in the best interest for both the University and the students.
“A graduation is a milestone achievement of an unequaled importance for many of the students looking forward to cross the stage,” Rodriguez said, “and this is something that the administration is well aware of.”
This is the first SGA forum of the semester, which may have stemmed from recent organizational issues and SGA meeting conflicts.
The Mesquite reported April 3 that SGA postponed elections until fall term and removed Jagiantic from its spring plans. Read the story.
Laura Pantano, SGA adviser and assistant vice president of student engagement and success, said that she feels that “SGA has reaffirmed their commitment to be the voice of the students.”
“I see that they are making an effort to end the semester on a positive note,” Pantano said by phone April 9, “and this forum is proof that they are heading in that direction.”
Pantano said that SGA wants to help students express their concerns about the commencement ceremony issue in a positive, open and transparent way, and that tomorrow’s forum will allow students a chance to be heard.
“They are trying to help students have a voice and get those issues resolved,” Pantano said. “They are also currently meeting and working on a strategy for the fall elections so that we can have a successful rebirth of SGA.”