Student speaks out on graduation fees, process

By LARA J. DAMICO
I am a student preparing to graduate with my B.S. in Occupational Therapy.  As I have made this journey into the graduation process, I have come across many things that concern me as far as the organization of the commencement ceremony and the fees that come along with it. Therefore, I am asking to make these issues known so that future students won’t have to deal with this very annoying and stressful process when it should be one of the best days of their lives.
Many fellow students and I are very annoyed with the fact that there is limited seating for their family members to come watch them graduate (5 per person) because it is held in the Bloechel Center.  As well, there is a $100 fee charged for EACH graduating student, whether they are graduating or not. After talking to student affairs, the business office, the registrar, and the president of the school not one of them could tell me what this fee was actually for. The one answer I got was it was “for the diploma and covers.” But what the other portion of the money was used for?
When I asked the president of the college if other students have complained about the ceremony being held in the gym which has limited seating she said, with much confidence, “oh yes, however, ‘we’ took a survey and decided it was the best place to host it.”
In closing my conversation with the president, she stated , “I’m sorry there is nothing we can do.”
It concerns me that the voices of students are not being heard in a process that is about them. Most colleges (and even some high schools) hold graduation ceremonies off campus. I understand Mount Mary is a small college, but if they are to become a University and plan to bring in more students, the students should be allowed this one adjustment.
I have taken on the role in the Occupational Therapy department for this years graduating class to address this problem. I have many students who are willing to back me on addressing this problem.

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