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Changes on the horizon for CSULB graduation

The new plan omits live music and includes shorter ceremonies.

The+commencement+for+2018+will+be+moved+to+George+Allen+Field+as+a+result+of+budget+cuts.
The commencement for 2018 will be moved to George Allen Field as a result of budget cuts.

The commencement for 2018 will be moved to George Allen Field as a result of budget cuts.

John Fajardo | LBSU Athletics

John Fajardo | LBSU Athletics

The commencement for 2018 will be moved to George Allen Field as a result of budget cuts.

Lauren Martinez, Staff Writer

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Graduating seniors will be walking the commencement stage without the real-time bravado of graduation classic, “Pomp and Circumstance,” as live music has been cut from the budget this year, in addition to a slight venue change.

During a routine Academic Senate meeting Thursday, talks of changes to the College of Liberal Arts commencement ceremony were revealed. An email released to select faculty was disseminated on Jan. 25 announcing the planned changes. The proposed modifications include cutting live music, altering the location from the Quad to the Athletic Soccer Field and reducing the time of the ceremony.

Multiple Academic Senate members questioned President Jane Close Conoley regarding the cuts.

“The plan, as it’s been presented to me, would save us $100,000 a year,” Conoley said. “It also would reduce some of the liability we experience with the people walking across campus.”

According to Conoley, live music costs approximately $13,000 and it is unclear at this time what the remaining $87,000 savings would be.

Due to Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed budget plan, many public universities like Cal State Long Beach will likely be in the red for the 2018-19 school term.

“We have to save money on something and we don’t want to raise student fees,” Conoley said. “If it’s a disaster, that will be a story for those students to tell. They’ll say we were the class of 2018 and it was a disaster.”

The senate responded with mixed emotions. Some chuckled while others voiced their criticisms, especially with the decision to replace a live band with recorded music.

“The state’s not coming back to give us more money. So we have to figure out other strategies,” Conoley said. “[We’re] trying to prepare for the worst, but will certainly celebrate the best. If we are awarded more than the current proposed amount… live music [at the commencement] would be the first thing to come back.”

Alexis Soto, a junior sociology major, shared her disappointment with the recent changes.

“I feel the music is a special moment for students graduating,” Soto said. “It would be kind of sad to take it away.”

Norbert Schürer, chair of the academic senate expressed his disappointment in a phone interview regarding the changes to commencement .

“It’s a little ridiculous to me, because the salary of one high level administrator at Brotman Hall is significantly more than $100,000,” Schürer said. “It’s okay if you want to save money. That’s great. Then let’s talk about it, rather than just deciding this is where we are going to save money and you’re going to have absolutely no say in what commencement now looks like.”

Schürer also highlighted the emotional connection associated with the ceremony.  In re-assigning the location, commencement goers will forgo seeing many of the aesthetically pleasing elements the campus has to offer. The background has been altered from a nature-rich environment to a soccer field.

“This is an event that means a lot to students, their families, to faculty — they’ve loved the way it has been,” Schürer said. “With live music, [located] up on the quad, with the trees and shade…it was an event that we really all loved.”

Because an official announcement hasn’t been submitted to students or faculty not associated with the College of Liberal Arts, a shock is reverberating around campus. A range of emotions have been expressed as more students and faculty discover the pending changes. Some students express indifference, while others may alter their choice on walking the stage altogether.

“Removing something from a nice celebration for students that symbolizes their achievements, taking that away is wrong,” said Raymond Hernandez, a junior majoring in sociology.

While additional funding may change things, for now Long Beach students will have to plan for a quiet commencement.

15 Comments

15 Responses to “Changes on the horizon for CSULB graduation”

  1. This school is terrible on February 7th, 2018 1:53 pm

    Why doesn’t Ms Jane take a pay cut!

    [Reply]

  2. WTH on February 7th, 2018 4:47 pm

    Maybe they should have thought more clearly before wasting money on that ugly ass macaroni and cheese “go beach” sign. Its disrespectful to the students who have worked hard and paid thousands of dollars.

    [Reply]

  3. kay Rivers on February 7th, 2018 6:43 pm

    I’m sure all the parents and family who travel great distances to see their child graduate, will appreciate this cheapened version to celebrate the accomplishment of their children. Wouldn’t count inn any alumnae money from These families.

    [Reply]

  4. Ugh on February 7th, 2018 9:43 pm

    I can guarantee that the MUSIC MAJORS who play the live music are not costing $13,000. What a disrespect to the music department.

    [Reply]

  5. Dissapointed graduating student on February 8th, 2018 2:06 am

    FIX THIS CSULB. How about returning the “Go Beach” sign for a refund?

    [Reply]

  6. DISAPPOINTED on February 8th, 2018 10:06 am

    We worked hard for our degrees, the least the school could do is give us the ceremony that we deserve! Instead of wasting money on fixing how the school looks, including the new buildings, parking signs, mustard “go beach” sign, the new round-about, why not use money on the ACTUAL students. If we can’t even have our graduation in the quad, then what is the point of showing off our new facilities including the “Go Beach” sign, the new buildings, the new roundabout, if our families will only get to see the soccer field. How lame.

    [Reply]

  7. Disappointed Music Student on February 8th, 2018 11:04 am

    As a music student, the main reason I was looking forward to going to graduation was to play in the ceremony. The recorded music will really cheapen and diminish the specialness of the day for everyone involved. I also doubt it costs $13,000 to employ a 20 piece band? Maybe sound equipment costs that much?? Not sure where that figure came from, but we should have been paid more last year if the cost for musicians was $13,000… Anyhow, this just showcases the larger issue of how the College of the Arts clearly does not matter to Conoley.

    [Reply]

  8. Charlie Kelly on February 8th, 2018 12:48 pm

    Why skool make yellow letter newar bos stup

    money kud be yousd on myousik insted

    I pay gud muney for my digreen and saramonee

    [Reply]

  9. CLA student on February 8th, 2018 6:39 pm

    Is it just CLA or everyone?

    [Reply]

  10. Brittany Wood on February 9th, 2018 5:48 am

    https://www.change.org/p/jane-conoley-save-commencement-at-csulb?recruiter=67052594

    Here’s a petition to contest the changes. If you’re curious, here’s how much the president herself makes as of 2016: $437,766. Not to mention the fact that this amount increased alongside the 2017 tuition hike.

    https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/california-state-university/

    [Reply]

  11. lame on February 9th, 2018 2:59 pm

    i think we should have our commencement at the pyramid since its already going to be broadcasted there for the day. I feel like that is the most viable option, and provides our students a “less high school” commencement.

    [Reply]

  12. Albert on February 10th, 2018 9:36 am

    Lower campus is so much more accessible to the elderly and handicap so I think the move is a good thing. However, the live music is special so I don’t agree with that choice.

    [Reply]

  13. Concerned grandparent on February 10th, 2018 5:04 pm

    I think it is absolutely ludicrous that the school chooses to cheapen graduation. These young women and men have worked very hard for their degrees and you don’t want them to have the best send off for their new pathways. Their last thought of csulb will be a cheap ceremony without a lot of thought to what they have accomplished.

    [Reply]

  14. DISAPPOINTED on February 10th, 2018 10:29 pm

    This honestly breaks my heart, to take something so special away (the one thing everyone looks forward to throughout their education here at CSULB) and make it into a high school graduation. Really thousands of dollars that I’ve worked so hard for to paid for my education, countless hours of studying and for the celebrating to turn into something so CHEAP! JUST WOW, to all the faculty here at CSULB.. I HOPE YOU ALL SPEAK UP FOR US, SINCE CLEARLY WE HAVE NO SAY IN THIS DECISION. Completely and utterly disappointed with this decision!

    [Reply]

  15. R. Gafford on May 25th, 2018 10:18 am

    Governor has to build the stupid bullet train to nowhere.

    [Reply]

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