NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There will be a little less pomp and circumstance at this year’s graduation ceremony at CUNY’s John Jay College.
The school has decided to eliminate the tradition of calling each student to the stage to receive their diploma as a way to shorten the five-hour-long commencement ceremony by an hour, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.
John Jay Student Affairs Vice President Lynette Cook-Francis said the school surveyed last year’s seniors.
“And they did say that walking across the stage was something that maybe we could cut,” she told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman.
“It’s just not sustainable in this day and age to have three-, four- and five-hour graduations,” Cook-Francis said.
Students will instead be placed in groups and asked to stand together at their seats when their major is stated.
The move has left many students feeling cheated.
“You work your whole life to graduate and you want to have that one moment of fame,” law and society major Jonathan Gode told Sandberg.
“That’s the one day to show you that you’ve made it and you’ve done something,” forensics science major Andiana Profit said.
“It’s important that your parents get to see you,” senior David Guadalup added.
Student Timothy Campbell said that photo-op has been motivating him all along.
“Four hard years, you know, John Jay, studying, working your butt off to graduate. You know, I think the least the school can offer is an opportunity to walk across the stage,” he said.
Ashley Oakes, of Poughkeepsie, has started an online petition hoping the school will change its mind.
“This takes away every glorification of graduation,” Oakes wrote in the petition on Change.org. “As a school of Criminal Justice, this is unequal and disrespectful.”
“Hearing your name and being able to walk that stage is a very proud moment, one we have worked terribly hard for!” wrote Melanie Velez. “If time is what is needed to be saved than do so by cutting the SPEECHES!, not by cutting the whole point of the ceremony!”
Alvinus Charles has signed the petition. His family is flying in from the Caribbean for the ceremony.
“I’ve been going to school for so long and now they’re telling me I can’t walk across the stage for graduation?” Charles asked CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock.
The petition had nearly 500 supporters by Wednesday morning.
Some students, however, agreed with the school’s decision.
“The change is good, I think it is,” one student said. “You have to stay until the whole ceremony and people want to leave.”
“As long as you get your diploma I don’t see a problem,” one freshman said.
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