John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Let the graduating class of 2013 individually walk across the stage
  • Petitioned John Jay College of Criminal Justice

This petition was delivered to:

John Jay College of Criminal Justice
President of John Jay College
Jeremy Travis

John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Let the graduating class of 2013 individually walk across the stage

    1. Ashley Oakes
    2. Petition by

      Ashley Oakes

      Poughkeepsie, United States

  1.  
  2.   
March 2013

Victory

Ashley Oakes: We fought and fought, and finally won. We were not backing down from something every student is entitled to. Myself and a few other student reps met with the dean and VP of student affairs and pleaded our case. A protest was planned for the day after. We received news that next day, one hour before the protest was to begin, that the decision has been reversed!

I am a hard working student at John Jay, as many others are as well. I commute over an hour and even put time into my schools soccer team. I just received an email that was sent out to all the graduating seniors that students will not walk across the stage this commencement due to lack of time. The email states that by doing this, it will cut out an hour from the three hour commencement. Instead, students will be classified in groups and are to stand at their seats when their major is stated.

This takes away every glorification of graduation. As a school of Criminal Justice, this is unequal and disrespectful. As past graduates were given the opportunity to walk with confidence across that stage and receive their degree with dignity, we, the class of 2013 will not. We want our names to be called and have our moment of honor. Instead of the students being acknowledged for their hard work and determination, guest speakers will be paid and given all the attention, rather than the ones who deserve it; the students.

I do not want to be part of a "group" on my graduation day and I know others do not as well. We need to fight this; it is un-American to not have a graduates name called and walk across a stage in attempts to "shorten time".

Please help us change this back to how it was and let us have the opportunity like everyone else had!

To:
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College
Let the graduating class of 2013 individually have their names acknowledged and walk across the stage.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 1,000 signatures
    2. Daily news and ny1 I believe has covered the story as well.

      Ashley Oakes
      Petition Organizer

      Keep up the fight. Lets get the guest speakers cut, not us!

    3. Channel 2 has covered the story!!

      Ashley Oakes
      Petition Organizer
      Students Upset After John Jay College Decides To Shorten Graduation Ceremony

      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.

    4. Reached 500 signatures
    5. Word is spreading!

      Ashley Oakes
      Petition Organizer

      I got a call from the news!! Unfortunately I was in class like a good student and didn't take the call. They left a voicemail and I will call them tomorrow. Hopefully they will help us out too!! Keep spreading this, it's the only way people will hear & sign :)

    6. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Ebony P Brown NEW YORK, NY
      • over 1 year ago

      It is CRUCIAL to recognize EACH and EVERY hard-working John Jay College student, such as myself, at the 2013 commencement ceremony. That is the whole point of a commencement ceremony. I did not study hard and make countless sacrifices for 6 1/2 years to complete John Jay's graduate program just to be shortchanged of my "15 minutes of fame." I am not alone in this sentiment. If the college administration wants to cut down on the time of the ceremony, remove the commencement speakers. Many of them deliver long-winded speeches which in turn cause some people to get bored and leave. Yes, I do agree that leaving early is rude, but it would be a more pleasant and enjoyable ceremony if all students were individually recognized as per tradition. To the faculty and administration of John Jay College and of CUNY, PLEASE DO NOT shortchange the students. We have worked diligently in your classes and given you everything of what was required from us, so GIVE THE STUDENTS AND OUR FAMILIES OUR SPECIAL MOMENT!!!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Heather Como HOWARD BEACH, NY
      • over 1 year ago

      The students have won! Thank you everyone who has supported us!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Margarita Gonzalez NEW YORK, NY
      • over 1 year ago

      Let them be proud of there accomplishment !!!! Don't take that away from them !

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Coral Hernandez CENTEREACH, NY
      • over 1 year ago

      March 19, 2013

      To the John Jay College Community:

      I am writing to discuss the issues that have arisen regarding our plans for the 2013 Commencement and to announce a change in those plans.

      For the past several years, the College has been working to improve the graduation experience for our students. Particularly challenging has been the fact that, as the number of John Jay graduates increased, the Commencement ceremony became too long. Until recently, we had one ceremony each year that lasted between four and five hours. For a variety of reasons, we then decided to hold two ceremonies, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. To shorten the ceremony, we have eliminated various components of the program. We have asked speakers to limit the time of their remarks. Yet the ceremonies still take a long time. Last year, between our morning and afternoon graduation ceremonies, we graduated about 2,000 students, and each ceremony lasted well over three hours, barely leaving time between ceremonies to clear the hall.

      Throughout all these changes we have retained a feature of the John Jay ceremony that holds great meaning for our students and their families – the practice of calling the names of individual students as they walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. Yet this portion of the program also lasts a long time. It takes about an hour and a half for a thousand students to have their names called, receive their diplomas, and walk across the stage to shake my hand. Last year, because we wanted to get their views on the length of the ceremony, we surveyed the students who graduated. Three-quarters of them responded that it was too long and that was the reason for their early departure.

      This year, the two committees that have oversight responsibility for our Commencement ceremony, the Ceremonial Occasions and the Commencement Planning Committees, recommended that we shorten the ceremony by eliminating the practice of calling student names and the “walk” across the stage. This concept was also endorsed by the Executive Board of Student Council. Instead, each student would be offered an opportunity to take a formal picture with me following the ceremony.

      The committees, which include representatives of faculty and students, made this recommendation for several reasons. Most importantly, they were responding to the results of the student survey that the ceremony was too long. The committees also noted that John Jay was out of step with other CUNY colleges of our size -- including Baruch, Hunter, Queens, Brooklyn, Lehman, and City College. None of these colleges still call students by name to walk across the stage at their main ceremonies. Indeed, at most colleges and universities with graduating classes as large as ours, degrees are conferred by programs, or majors, or colleges, rather than by calling the names of individual students. This practice frees up time for other ideas that add variety and energy to the ceremony, such as a notable guest speaker, or a film highlighting the accomplishments of the graduating class. Interestingly, most of these colleges also once had a tradition of calling the names of individual students -- but they decided to abandon that practice so they could have more flexibility in designing their programs.

      The committees had another important reason for this recommendation. Unfortunately, every year many of our students have chosen to leave the auditorium after their name is called, rather than return to their seats. This means that the students who cross the stage at the end of the ceremony are facing a near-empty hall, and those students who have stayed are sitting in near-empty rows of seats. For those students, and for the faculty, college administrators and guests sitting on the stage, this is a very disappointing end to the ceremony. With this history in mind, the two committees recommended we make a change this year, and I accepted their recommendation.

      Since the announcement was made a few weeks ago, many of our students have voiced their deep disappointment – and anger – about this decision. For some of them, the moment when their name is called and they walk across the stage represents the culmination of their John Jay experience. They were understandably upset that this long-awaited moment would be taken from them. Some students did not like the way the decision was made – they felt it was sudden, with little input from students, and without an opportunity to consider alternatives. I have also heard from many family members, relatives and friends of our students who have told me they were looking forward to hearing their student’s name being called and watching him or her cross the stage at the Javits Center.

      Two weeks ago, our new Vice President for Student Affairs, Lynette Cook-Francis, started her new position at John Jay. Since her first day, she has been speaking with students, listening to family members, and conferring with faculty and staff to understand the dynamics of this situation. Reflecting on the feedback we have both received, and based on Vice President Cook- Francis’s consultations and her professional judgment working on commencements at other universities, we agree that for the 2013 Commencement we will continue the practice of calling student names as they walk across the stage and the hand shake. We both feel that we need to go back to square one to design the best possible John Jay Commencement, based on active consultation with students and faculty. It is our judgment that the current situation inhibits that creative and consultative process.

      This year we will be making some minor modifications to the Commencement ceremony. We will work hard to shorten the rest of the program. We will try to speed up the reading of the students’ names. We will share the video clips the students are currently recording prior to each ceremony to make the waiting time more enjoyable. We are also pleased to see that many of the students who organized so vigorously to keep “the walk” this year also realize the importance of organizing their fellow students to stay for the entire ceremony. They understand that every student deserves the same experience of having their name called in front an auditorium filled with their fellow students and their families.

      I have been impressed with Vice President Cook-Francis’s creative ideas for ways to improve the graduation ceremonies at John Jay College. Early in the fall, she will start discussions with the class of 2014 about ways to re-imagine their Commencement. In the future, we may well hold a winter graduation ceremony, as many CUNY colleges do. We may hold a separate ceremony for students receiving master’s degrees. We may design a ceremony that does not include calling students’ names and the walk across the stage, but has other ways to recognize the individual accomplishments of our students. As we consider these changes, we will make sure that our Commencement will always be a joyous time for the John Jay community to celebrate the accomplishments of our students.

      I thank everyone for their candid and heartfelt expressions of concern about these issues. I look forward to a wonderful celebration of our students’ accomplishments on May 28th, 2013 in the Javits Center.

      Sincerely,

      Jeremy Travis

      President

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    • Coral Hernandez CENTEREACH, NY
      • over 1 year ago

      this petition has been won! look at your college email!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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