2022 ISOA Graduating Students deserve more than 4 tickets for their ceremony!

2022 ISOA Graduating Students deserve more than 4 tickets for their ceremony!

287 have signed. Let’s get to 500!

Why this petition matters

Started by Sydney Serwatt

Make sure to leave a comment and share your thoughts! 


1- Sign Petition with Full name and email, then click "Sign Petition"

2- Next page, scroll to bottom and click "Skip for Now"

3- Next page, scroll to bottom and click "See news on the petition you signed"

4- You will see a "Add Comment" in the middle of the page, click that and post your thoughts!


The Issue:

A select few faculty made the decision to allow graduating students only 4 tickets for the School of Architecture convocation ceremony. The ceremony is planned to take place in Foellinger Auditorium and it currently holds 1,361 seats. Currently, there are 125 students set to graduate this May. Taking into account that each student is receiving only 4 tickets, despite students also needing to have a seat during the ceremony, the total number of occupied seats is only 625. There will be around 736 empty seats during the ceremony if this decision doesn’t change. 

The Story:

Most students did not hear about this decision until recently, on March 31st, when a mass mail was distributed to students informing them that each of them would only receive 4 tickets. In comparison to previous years where students received 8 tickets, a vast majority of students became very frustrated to hear that they were limited to 4 tickets. Especially considering that many students have had family plan ahead, booking hotels and flights in order to see these students walk the stage and to be present to honor their accomplishments. With such a late announcement about ticket information, students wanted to see if something could be done to get more tickets. Many students and parents reached out to Latanya, Associate Director of Academic Affairs, but instead of getting a reason as to why the decision was made, students received this message:

“I am writing to reiterate that each student will receive 4 tickets for graduation. I will not be reading or  answering any more emails regarding request for more tickets as the Student Services Office is very busy.”

Feeling disregarded and unheard, students were willing to cooperate if the reasoning behind the limited number of tickets was justifiable. It was later shared that the reasoning was “We want to make sure those individuals who are not ok with taking their masks off are ok as well. 4 is a compromise this year.”

Although the reasoning for this decision claimed COVID as the determining factor, here is information that should be taken into consideration:

On February 28th, COVID restrictions loosened substantially in Illinois and on campus…

  • Proof of negative test or vaccination no longer needed to enter places
  • Masks are only required in classrooms for students and faculty
  • “There are to be no additional expectations for face coverings for units, facilities and events - this includes commencement ceremonies” as stated in a University-Wide Mass Mail
  • Gies College of Business is one among other programs that are holding their ceremony at the State Farm Center, and other locations, with no limit to the number of attendees.

Despite this university announcement for public events, the convocation ceremony for the School of Architecture is limiting the number of tickets available to each student in an effort to socially distance. Meanwhile, every campus building allows everyone to not socially distance, as long as they follow the university indoor mask requirement, seeing that the CDC has stated it is not necessary to socially distance with a mask on. 

Let us analyze the numbers for building capacity at Foellinger Auditorium, if COVID is not a determining factor.

  • If students were to get 6 tickets each, there would be about 486 empty seats.
  • If students were to get 8 tickets each, there would be about 236 empty seats.
  • Both of these alternative options still provide plenty of free seating space that would keep the auditorium from being completely full.


What We Deserve & Want:

This pandemic has taken a vast amount of opportunities for students. We have been through so much with the past couple of years, so to be able to say that we are graduating after such a difficult time is a tremendous deal and should be honored as such. A significant  majority of graduate students in the School of Architecture did not have the opportunity to receive their undergraduate ceremony in 2020. This is important because it means that this year’s convocation ceremony is the one and only time they can celebrate their milestone accomplishments in person with their loved ones. For COVID to be the main factor that is affecting this special day, despite the information given by CDC and University guidelines is nothing shy of unnecessary and ignorant. This ticket issue has become frustrating and very disappointing for many students, and some faculty in the School of Architecture would agree.

With all of that being said, we want our voices to be heard on this matter. Not just listened to. Not just turned away as an inconvenience, but rather truly heard. Students are what makes the University of Illinois the successful, thriving community it is today. Students are paying to attend this university, which often comes with sacrifices, whether financial or other. Students are being affected by these decisions made by faculty and if students don’t have a say then there is something to be said about the way the education system is being run on this campus. We are kind and understanding, but before that we are resilient and honest, so this is our call to action to have our voices heard. 

This is our last plea.

One last opportunity to see if this decision can be altered, at the very least, after hearing what we have to say.

We can’t do this without you, every signature counts.

Thank you very much for your careful consideration and for hearing our voices.


287 have signed. Let’s get to 500!