Commencement Changes Spark Controversy

By: Madison Watkins, Editor-in-Chief

“Who came up with this idea?” That question was on the minds of many students and faculty after Georgia Southern University announced the plans for the spring 2019 commencement.

The University announced on Jan. 16 that the spring commencement ceremonies would occur on two days. College-specific ceremonies will take place on Friday, May 10 and the campus-wide ceremony will be held at 9 a.m., May 11, at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro.

The Waters College of Health Professions, College of Education and Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health will honor graduates at individual ceremonies on May 10 at the Savannah Convention Center.

The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing, and College of Science and Mathematics will hold ceremonies on May 10 at Hanner Fieldhouse on the Statesboro campus.

The ceremony for College of Arts and Humanities and Parker College of Business will take place on May 11 at Hanner Fieldhouse.  

The schedule forces many students to travel to an unfamiliar city and campus for the final days of their college careers.

A petition on Change.org to move the graduations to students home campuses had more than 13,000 signatures at press time.

A FAQ on the Georgia Southern includes the question that so many students are asking: “Who came up with this idea?”

The response said that a committee considered schedules at other universities, but no committee members or institutions were listed.  

“The George-Anne” listed the members of the committee in that paper’s commencement coverage

  • Velma Burden, Registrar, Statesboro
  • Wallace Brown, Associate Registrar, Statesboro
  • Nichole Booker, Assistant Registrar, Armstrong
  • Laura Mills, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, Armstrong
  • Christine Ludowise, Vice Provost, Statesboro
  • James Brawner, Mathematics Department Chair, Armstrong
  • Allen Amason, Dean, Statesboro
  • Patrice Jackson, former Associate Vice President & Dean of Student Services, Statesboro
  • Andrew Dies, Dean of Students & Student Affairs Campus Lead, Armstrong
  • Amanda Heinz, Community Affairs Coordinator, Armstrong
  • Katie Twining, Associate Vice President for Facilities
  • Diana Cone, Vice Provost
  • Chris Curtis, Vice President for Armstrong & Liberty Campus Operations
  • Amy Ballagh, Vice President for Enrollment Management
  • Georj Lewis, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Amy Heaston, Chief of Staff

Five committee members are based on the Statesboro campus and six on the Armstrong campus.

Student Government Association senator Keyshawn Housey told “The George-Anne” that senators were never consulted about the commencement schedule.  

The Inkwell reached out to President Shelley Nickel and Provost Carl Reiber, but they had not replied as of press time.

 

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