Lefton’s off mark with new graduation

There aren’t many things that can get the student body talking. There are even fewer things that upset the student body enough to move them to action. However, Lester Lefton has hit a nerve with Kent State students.

His new gradation plan calls for one ceremony each year, which will include every graduating student regardless of when the student finishes his or her degree. August and December grads are lumped together with May, rain or shine at Dix Stadium.

It’s official. In one of his first major decisions as president, President Lefton has truly upset the student population.

Since running an article detailing the new graduation plan Wednesday, letters to the editor and comments on StaterOnline.com have been pouring in – all of them negative. No other announcement or event this semester has garnered as much response.

Lefton didn’t ask or listen to the students before going ahead with this decision. This isn’t what the students want. It’s their graduation he’s shaking up and their memories at stake, not his.

Lefton simply does not understand the demographics of this university. This is a large state university with people here who might be the first in their family to go to college. Plus, not everyone graduates in exactly four years. There is a constant cycle of people in and out of this university. That’s just how it is at state schools. And the already impersonal graduation ceremony will only become more so when you add in several thousand more students.

August and December graduates, especially, will lose out and will now have to come back if they want to hear their names read. Is Lefton going to call all their employers six months after graduation to get them off work for the ceremony? We don’t want our first vacation days at our new jobs to be used for coming back to Kent State.

Logistically, nothing about this plan makes sense. Thousands of students? Rain or shine in May? Two hour lunch break as thousands of people flood the restaurants of Kent? What about this seems like a good idea?

Few of us care about a big name speaker. Sure, it might get Kent State some media attention, but that’s not why we participate in the graduation ceremony. We want to finish a chapter of our lives. It’s not the same when we’ve already gotten jobs and moved away.

Let everyone have their moment, and let that moment come at different times. It’s not too late to go back. At the least, they should hold a student forum and attempt to understand where students are coming from.

The new graduation process has left a bad taste in students’ mouths, which isn’t the way for Lefton to establish a positive reputation with students. Students don’t take well to people messing up something that means so much to them and their families. Lefton shouldn’t take it lightly either.

The above editorial is the general consensus of the editorial board of the Daily Kent Stater.