The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Diplomas restored to May graduation ceremonies

Last Tuesday, I announced an enormous student victory unlike any I have seen during my time at SMU: official diplomas being restored to May graduation ceremonies. Diplomas’ being restored to Commencement exercises demonstrates the power of the student voice throughout our great university. If we are unhappy about a policy that directly affects our rights as students, both collectively and as individuals, we have the power to change it.

Over the past year, students from a multitude of different communities, backgrounds, and beliefs came together and fought to have our diplomas – which we have worked so hard for, which we have endured all-nighters to achieve, which we have learned and developed for – restored to our graduation ceremonies. As then Student Body Vice President and now Student Body President I was and continue to be filled with pride witnessing students take an initiative and standing up for their rights. And it was not just the typical “student leaders” who are to thank for this achievement. Students who do not hold a title voiced their concern and organized. Students inappropriately deemed as apathetic, made it their mission to ensure the restoration of diplomas at May graduation. That student, who sits in the back of the classroom, eyes glued to a laptop and not participating, joined in the discussion and aided in our cause. And many of the faculty joined with us, chief among them Dr. Bonnie Wheeler, whose convictions of tradition and academic integrity remained unyielding during the debate.

I congratulate all of you who took ownership of your student experience and ensured your right to receiving an official diploma at May graduation was not overlooked. At the same time, this accomplishment would not have been possible were it not for numerous members of our community. All of whom deserve many thanks and the utmost gratitude.

On behalf of the student body, I would like to thank Provost Ludden and his staff for listening to the calls of the student body to restore diplomas to May graduation. This was ultimately the Provost’s Office’s decision and I would like to state my respect for the office for listening to its student body. University administrators taking into account and acting on suggestions of the student body is truly a unique aspect of our education and an asset of SMU that should not go unrecognized.

On behalf of the student body, I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to all of those who will put in the extra effort so official diplomas will be ready by May graduation ceremonies. The time between final examinations and graduation was shortened due to a recommendation by the Task Force on Substance Abuse. This means that numerous SMU staff members will be up for several extra hours to ensure our diplomas are ready by graduation ceremonies.

Among those who will put in the extra effort are Mr. John Hall and all those who work for the University Registrar’s Office. The registrar’s office has been supportive of keeping official diplomas at May graduation ceremonies since the decision to remove them was first contemplated. Those who work in the registrar continue to stand ready to ensure the very best for our university.

Last and by no means least, I want to recognize all those who work in the Dedman records office. These are the individuals who send us e-mails concerning our majors, such as Jimmeca Dorsey who works tirelessly to guarantee all Political Science majors are able to have the best academic experience possible. Individuals like Ms. Dorsey will have to put in several extra hours of work – many will be working all night – so that we can enjoy our right of receiving an official diploma at May graduation.

The people I have thanked are the unsung heroes of SMU. They work behind the scenes, making sure that our great university is run properly and aiding in our academic experiences. They work not for glory but out of a sincere love for SMU. If you see any of these individuals, I encourage all of you to thank them for the efforts. If it were not for them, there would be no student victory and we would continue to not receive our diplomas at May graduation.

Patrick Kobler is the Student Body President of SMU. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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