Allow Department Convocations During Finals
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President Mary A. Papazian of San Jose State University has proposed the removal of department convocations and class commencements, replacing them with college-based commencements, starting in the Spring 2018 semester. Her reasoning is outlined under "Commencement..." in her November blog, which can be read here.
In short, she believes that department convocations are distracting students because they take place during finals, and that they provide an "inequitable experience for graduates that wholly is contrary to SJSU’s values of inclusion, equity and access," because some departments receive more funding than others (Papazian).
She is proposing the college-based commencement ceremonies take place over two days (likely the Thursday and Friday after finals), at Avaya Stadium and the SJSU Events Center. Department convocations would only be allowed to occur after the official college commencements, when many students have already left the university.
Currently, department convocations are specialized, intimate events in which each graduate is recognized for their perseverance, and any applicable awards and honors. Any student who has sacrificed their time to achieve such awards and honors can attest to an expectation of being formally recognized for them.
As stated in the November blog, the timeline for college-based commencements would only permit each student to have their name called and to be quickly congratulated by the president, provost, and appropriate dean. While attempting to provide a feeling of intimacy, the president recognizes that there are several large colleges within the university.
One such large college is the College of Applied Sciences and Arts (CASA), comprised of thirteen departments. It has been estimated that the typical CASA commencement would last for nearly four hours, to include the various traditional speeches.
The president will likely come to a decision during the winter break, so it is vital to provide signed petitions such as these in the coming weeks.
With this petition, we ask that President Papazian allow department convocations to continue to exist as they have been for many years.
If you care deeply about your department's convocation, or are expecting to be properly recognized for your many years of hard work, please help fight these changes and sign this petition.
We hope to show President Papazian that convocation is more than a tradition that can be changed without protest.
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