The attitude of unity has to start with the student body. If we can't show support for each other, why should others?
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- Columbia University
The sudden and unexpected rescheduling of the School of General Studies Class Day has placed undue financial and emotional burdens upon the students of General Studies and their families. We are heartened by the creation of a GS Class Day Travel Fund and hope that the administration will work to accommodate as many people as possible so that they are able to take part in the celebration of the amazing accomplishments of the graduating seniors in GS.
We are disappointed with the manner in which this change has been communicated to the GS student body. President Bollinger’s e-mail did not acknowledge the enormous emotional and financial burdens the move of GS Class Day places on the families and friends of GS seniors. We request a formal apology to those students and their families that have been affected by the move. We also wish to see the creation of a smaller event during the originally scheduled Class Day ceremony, in an alternative location, to accommodate those individuals who cannot change their plans or wish to attend in addition to Class Day. This event should be paid for in full by the Columbia and Barnard administrations as a gesture of goodwill and understanding to recognize both the achievements of the graduating GS seniors and the support and sacrifices made by them and their loved ones.
Additionally, we are saddened by the conflict between the new GS Class Day time and the undergraduate Baccalaureate Service. The Baccalaureate Service is the only graduation event that brings together graduating seniors from the four undergraduate schools in an intimate setting to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and our passage together through Columbia. This is to be the first year in which all four undergraduate schools will have seniors speaking at the event, and we are hopeful that any GS students who would like to attend will be accommodated. Those who cannot attend will be deeply missed by their Barnard, Columbia College, and Engineering classmates.
Columbia is a unique and challenging experience for each and every individual who ventures through the Columbia gates, regardless of which school he or she attends. Graduation is a celebration of the culmination of the years of hard work invested to satisfy the requirements of a Columbia University degree. This would not be possible without the immense support of family and friends, the very individuals who wish to be present at Class Day. Every graduating individual deserves the right to be able to celebrate with those individuals in their life who have made this accomplishment possible.
Representatives and members from all of the undergraduate schools stand in solidarity with graduating seniors of the School of General Studies. Though there are four separate undergraduate schools, we stand as one undergraduate student body – celebrating the experiences and perspectives that every group and individual adds to this community. We wish to move past the animosity that has been presented toward various groups and remind students that we are here to support each other and wish that every member of our community feel included and welcomed.
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