2022 RWU Law School Ceremony Must Change
2022 RWU Law School Ceremony Must Change
Why this petition matters
I was hoping for your help.
This year, the new President of RWU made the unilateral decision to change the way the law school ceremony has always operated, pre-pandemic. Usually, it was a two-day affair with individual college ceremonies and no guest limitations.
Our law school ceremony only allows for four ticketed guests. While the main ceremony allows for six ticketed guests. So, if we wanted to go to both ceremonies, we would have to choose two guests to drop. On top of that, for weeks the commencement ceremony website did not forewarn anyone about guest limitation. So, many out-of-state students and their families made arrangements for this event to avoid rising costs closer to the May date. Now, it's a slap in the face to our families, friends, faculty and staff, alums, 1Ls, and 2Ls who cannot freely join us in this first fully in-person graduation event post-pandemic.
I have written an email to the President and have cc'd Dean Bowman, Dean Lalli, and Dean Goldstein. I was hoping that you could copy and paste my email and send it via your email OR express your own disappointment using my email as a template. I know this may not do much of anything but, I'm hoping to flood the President's email with an illustrative demonstration of our community. And, if you are so inclined would please send this to others?
Please, read the below email.
Dear President Miaoulis,
I am writing to express my extreme hurt and disappointment in the way you decided to hold the law school graduation ceremony. In the past, the university recognized that getting a law degree is separate and distinct from undergraduate and graduate degrees and has had a separate ceremony to honor that. This year, without asking for feedback from the law school community you decided to combine the ceremonies into one large poorly planned and mismanaged event.
The initial announcement that we were allowed unlimited guests has put many of our family members in the untenable position of having spent a lot of money to come here but having no ticket with which to attend the law school graduation. I am not a local from the New England area and, therefore, my family had to make travel, hotel, and car rental arrangements much earlier than others because they live in Texas. In fact, my aunt has a much worse situation because she lives in Sri Lanka.
How am I supposed to choose between family members who financially planned long ago to attend? I feel this overwhelming mixture of emotions. I feel accomplished, but anxious knowing that I’m going to disappoint the very people who helped me through this tremendous and sometimes traumatic three-year professional degree program. How can I make my family proud and disappointed on the same day?
The law school graduation is not only a slap in the face to us, your students, but is also a slap in face to our faculty, staff, alums, 1Ls, and 2Ls. The university and law school has always advertised community. We have, in fact, built a law school community and a Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut legal community because of the small law school, the faculty and staff, alums, and numerous events all-year round. And now, we’re not allowed to celebrate this achievement with our community that you and others at the university have so greatly advertised.
The university even advertises community in our very own law school classrooms through undergraduate tours. The hypocrisy is unbelievable.
As for the main ceremony, it’s unthinkable that we were given six tickets to the main ceremony only for us to, once again, choose guests to drop because the law school ceremony only allows for four tickets. My six tickets to the “Fauci ceremony” will not be used.
I know that the law school has successfully set-up a live stream but this does not fix the problem your decision created. It’s another slap in the face to us and others because we have to, yet again, choose amongst our community who can watch us walk across the stage when the rest of our guests are mere yards away.
The Class of 2020 had a global pandemic and, therefore, it was understandable for the university not to have an in-person graduation ceremony. The Class of 2021 had state-wide mandates not allowing a certain number of people to be together, which was only lifted the day before graduation and, therefore, it was understandable that a quick state decision did not allow for the university to plan properly. However, we do not have a nation-wide mandate nor a state-wide mandate. There is nothing barring us to have an in-person, no guest limitation, law school ceremony with every single member of our community.
This event is supposed to be happy and celebratory--a culmination of all that we have accomplished in the past few years. And a send-off into an isolating and fear inducing bar-study. For some of us, this is the one and only time we will see our family before we take the bar.
Your decision has made this an anxious and disappointing event. I am extremely hurt by your decision.