Tell Northern Arizona University to Recognize Nick Acevedo at NAU Commencement!

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On March 4, 2018 the unthinkable happened when Northern Arizona University senior, Nick Acevedo took his own life. Nick was struggling in the aftermath of a terrible incident of violence that impacted him deeply, as well as several NAU students.

NAU policy permits Nick to receive a posthumous degree, because he earned his degree. But they have denied the very simple request of his parents, Karen and Steve Acevedo:

To have their son's name read aloud at the commencement ceremony.

What a simple request! What a wonderful opportunity for NAU to do something kind and unifying, to help bring comfort and healing to Nick's family and the NAU community who loved Nick and are deeply grieving his loss. What a wonderful way of acknowledging Nick's accomplishments. It would take 1.5 seconds to say his name: Nick Acevedo. This is something Nick earned. Had Nick not committed suicide a few weeks ago, he would have walked across the stage when his name was called, and accepted his diploma.

But NAU President, Rita Cheng said no.

Speaking on behalf of the president, Kimberly Ott, Assistant to the President for Executive Communications and Media Relations, had this to say as the reason why:

"NAU does not present posthumous degrees at venues where other students are celebrating their own accomplishments, such as a commencement exercise"

What? Mentioning a deceased student's name at the commencement ceremony will in some way detract from other students' celebrating their accomplishments?

Instead, the school has offered to have a "private ceremony" for Nick's family—one that will not draw too much attention, or distract from the other students' celebration! 

By saying no to the simple request of reading Nick Acevedo's name aloud at the commencement ceremony, NAU is contributing to the stigma of suicide, and causing the Acevedo family and all of Nick's friends at NAU, unnecessary pain and grief. 

Read more about NAU's decision here: The Lumberjack: NAU will not posthumously recognize student at commencement

Please sign this petition to tell NAU President, Rita Cheng to do the right thing:


Other ways your voice can be heard: 

Rita Cheng, president: Twitter: @NAUPresident

Dr. Daniel L. Kain, provost:

Kimberly Ott, Assistant to the President for Executive Communications and Media Relations: