‘Congratulations on probably graduating!’

Editorial

Those of you who read your last Senate report e-mail may have noticed a troubling bit of news: taking degrees out of Commencement for future graduating seniors.
Apparently, faculty members feel that they do not have enough time to grade the final exams of graduating seniors before Commencement takes place. Their proposed solution is to hold off presenting diplomas until possibly a week (or whenever they finish grading) after Commencement, though you would still get a lovely, empty display case. The move would not affect this year’s graduating seniors.
Opposition to the idea has been expressed by students, senators and even trustees. The Review would like to add its name to the list of dissenters.
If this plan were to be implemented, would students be expected to come back to school once their degrees are ready? This may work for students living in McMinnville, but many students live quite a distance away from Linfield, not to mention international students who may be graduating.
Some people, as much as we all love Linfield, just want to get out of here as soon as possible once they finish. Let’s face it: Once you’re done with school, many just want to go home and relax or go on to bigger and better parts of their lives. Some people would need their degree to move on to said parts, as some jobs require proof of graduation.
Not only would this new policy inconvenience many, it would impede them in some cases.
Students are usually required to be off campus by the Monday following Commencement. So, even if a student wanted to stick around and wait for his or her degree, he or she would not be able to do so.
Putting the issues of impracticality aside, removing degrees from the commencement ceremony undermines the whole point of the ceremony. It would be like telling students, “Congratulations on probably graduating!” You can then proudly show off your empty case to all your family and friends who took the time to come all the way out to McMinnville.
We imagine that some parents would break into a panic: “Where’s your degree? Did you graduate or not? Have you been failing classes?” No student wants to be in this situation.
Family and friends come to see you achieve something during Commencement. If there’s no proof of this achievement, nothing to physically show for all your hard work, what is the point of the commencement ceremony?
Senate announced plans to formally write a letter against the idea, and we fully support this move. The idea is outrageously unfair to students, their futures and their families. As such, this idea must be condemned.
While we sympathize with the faculty in its complaints, we feel its solution does not take student opinion into account.
If faculty does not have enough time to grade finals, we need to collaboratively brainstorm a solution that is fair to all. The faculty certainly has rights, but these rights must not overshadow the rights of everyone else.
Let’s instead look at ideas for changing the ways finals take place, whether it is changes to their form or timing.
We hope the faculty considers this opinion, which seems to be widespread among students, before moving any further with this plan. To do so would only cause a storm of resentment and frustration to emerge among future graduating seniors.

-The Review Editorial Board

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