Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Seniors react to graduation postponement

By the time that final exam week rolls around each spring, most seniors have already mailed their graduation invitations, purchased their cap and gown and made plans to move away to grad school or to start a new career.

Seniors at the University of Alabama, however, will have to put those plans on hold.

Although the tornado that devastated much of Tuscaloosa last Wednesday did little damage to the campus, commencement exercises have been postponed until August 6th.

Many seniors expressed disappointment and frustration about having to wait three months to graduate, yet said they understand that the University has little other option.

“I definitely think that the University did the right thing by delaying graduation,” said Maycie Sloan, who majored in American Studies at the University  “I think it would have been insensitive to celebrate in the midst of the devastation and while so many people in Tuscaloosa are mourning and displaced.”

Even if the University would have held the May 7th graduation ceremony, seniors believe there would have been a dark cloud overshadowing the pomp and circumstance.

“With students missing and homeless it just wouldn’t have felt right,” said Sarah Wofford, who studied biology at the University.

Ashley Atwell, who majored in telecommunications and film, agreed, stating that in addition to not feeling up to celebrating, the families in town for graduation would have added to the city’s problems.

“With the community in the state it is in, I would have a tough time feeling like celebrating right now,” she said.  “In the state that Tuscaloosa is in, I think it would be too chaotic to have families from out of town come in and celebrate.

Since some of the storm’s victims were mere weeks away from graduating, seniors believe they should be remembered at the August commencement ceremony.

“I am planning on attending commencement in August and feel that the students who died should be honored then,” Sloan said.

The large influx of people into Tuscaloosa at a time when the city infrastructure is in shambles would be counterproductive, said Joseph Nelson, who studied chemical and biological engineering.

“Tuscaloosa does not currently have the infrastructure to hold such a large event,” he said.  “While the University itself was not significantly damaged, the surrounding businesses are supported by graduation.  Regardless of how much outside support we receive, our city cannot rebuild to its required capacity in two weeks.”

Caiti Clark, who studied French at the University, said that as long as the delay in graduation doesn’t affect her ability to enroll in medical school, she is not bothered by a later graduation.

“As long as my diploma still comes in June, and my transcripts go out to my medical school as scheduled, then there won’t be an issue,” she said.

Some seniors, who are unable to attend the August ceremony, wish the University would give students another opportunity to walk.

“An earlier graduation ceremony separate from the summer graduation would be nice,” Woffard said.  “I feel like this has kind of caused the May graduates to become the ‘lost class’ of UA.”

Nelson, who is unable to return for graduation, said not walking is a small sacrifice in comparison with what he gets in return.

“I don’t mind [not attending commencement], though, as not walking is a very small sacrifice to pay for my and all of my friends’ well-beings,” Nelson said.  “I believe the University is doing a fine job of being transparent and communicative, even with such a difficult decision as delaying graduation.”

In spite of the delay, many seniors look forward to returning to Tuscaloosa to take part in the graduation ceremony.

“I look forward to the opportunity of returning to Tuscaloosa during the first week of August,” said Alex Murray, who studied accounting at UA.  “Commencement will be a great way to bring closure to my undergraduate experience at the Capstone.”


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