New commencement standard limits guests, mandates RSVP

Simon Husted

Starting this August, students can no longer attend graduation if they forget to RSVP on time, and will be limited to six guests using a ticket system.

The Provost office updated the commencement website last week about the policy change, following weeks worth of discussions with the President’s cabinet on how to prevent attendance overflow during graduation ceremonies.

“It is our goal to provide a positive, memorable graduation experience and accommodate every graduate and their special guests in the Ceremony Hall,” said a statement on the Provost office website.

During the May commencements, 73 students lost their seats at an evening graduation ceremony and more than 500 people were relocated from the MAC Center to the KIVA and the Student Center Ballroom. The displaced guests watched the ceremony unfold over a projection screen instead of in person.

It was later revealed 106 of the 831 students who attended the ceremony didn’t fill out the RSVP form. Additionally, there was no enforcement of how many guests per student were permitted to attend; although students were encouraged to invite no more than six.

The new RSVP form will open this Wednesday for seniors who plan to attend the Aug. 11 and Aug. 13 graduation ceremonies. Grad Fair, happening 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on the second floor of the Student Center, will serve to remind students to fill out the form.

“This is the best opportunity to start new changes,” said Lashonda Taylor, event manager for academic affairs. It is important university officials know how many students and guests plan to attend, she added.

Students will have until July 11 to fill out the form. An RSVP reminder will be emailed before the deadline.

Students who complete the form will be e-mailed six bar-coded tickets, Taylor said. Likewise, parents and family members will receive informative letters about the guest size limit.

“We are going out of our way to inform students about the RSVP process,” Taylor said.

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Simon Husted at [email protected].