Winter commencement and the campus uproar

Ashland University reverses decision to cancel a traditional winter commencement

Ashland Universitys campus just after a morning sunrise in Ashland, Ohio.

The Collegian

Ashland University’s campus just after a morning sunrise in Ashland, Ohio.

Katelyn Meeks, Managing Editor

AU reverses decision on canceling traditional commencement

In a recent turn of events, an email went out from the Registrar’s Office at approximately 4:05p.m. on Sept. 6, stating a message from the Provost, to those who are graduating in December, that the traditional winter commencement will not be taking place, but instead a graduation celebration.

After this email was sent, many seniors were upset with the decision. One senior, graduating in December, even started a petition and as of now, the petition has over a thousand signatures.

In the comments section, many have complained about the decision and many comments range from financial reasons to support of friends to the lack of consideration from the university.

“We really decided to not cancel it, but move it to May and replace it with a celebration,” stated Dr. Carlos Campo, Ashland University President. “We have heard from students and parents… we want to be responsive to those things.”

There were a number of factors that went into this decision, but the biggest one was lack of students graduating this semester.

Campo said, “One of the considerations is that we don’t have enough students graduating.”

Campo went on to mention a few others like the labor shortage on campus that has had an impact on graduation.

As of yesterday, at 5:18p.m., another email was sent out from the Registrar’s Office from Dr. Campo, stating that the traditional commencement ceremony will take place for December 2022 graduates, but going forward starting December 2023 graduates, it will be a celebration.

In the email, Dr. Campo stated, “Since receiving this message, we have heard back from many of you expressing concerns about the decision to shift to one annual ceremony-as well as the way the decision was communicated. We agree that the communication did not reflect our highest and best to students and families, and that giving all affected parties more time to plan for the change was in order. We apologize for any stress that this may have caused our students, families, and campus community.”

Tiffany Sims, Executive President of the Student Senate, attended the meeting as a voice for the student body for when the decision was made, and stated via email, “Today, I attended a meeting with administration, including Dr. Campo and the Executive Leadership Team, and did my absolute best to express the needs, concerns, and voices of the students. They were receptive to the concerns and apologetic for the confusion and stress this all caused. They apologized for the unclear and lack of communication. As a result of student feedback, they made the decision to have the 2022 Winter Commencement ceremony, which we are very grateful for.”

Sims also mentioned in the email that going forward there will only be one commencement ceremony “due to unfortunate financial concerns”.

She also added that the Student Senate will be more involved with the December celebrations moving forward.

Although everything seems to be set in stone with winter commencements moving forward, questions behind the decision still linger, and will most likely be changed.