written by: Olivia McLean
Tell Mom and Dad their kid will get to walk across the stage in May.
VSU President Dr. William McKinney has confirmed that although summer commencement will not be returning, students who have six or fewer credit hours left to fulfill graduation requirements will be able to walk in May.
On Nov. 1, McKinney sent a mass email to students announcing the change in commencement procedures.
“VSU will allow only those graduates who have fulfilled all graduation requirements to participate in Commencement,” the email read. “That is, VSU will no longer allow students to walk early. Candidates for graduation who complete their graduation requirements in the summer will be permitted and encouraged to participate in the Fall Commencement.”
After consulting with the Faculty Senate, the registrar’s office and his own staff, McKinney realized the impact the changes had on students.
“[We] definitely underestimated the need for that,” McKinney said. “So, we’ll fix it.”
McKinney believes that students shouldn’t be penalized for their majors’ requirement to earn credit hours from courses or programs only offered in the summer.
“Commencement is and should be a very memorable moment,” McKinney said.
The power of students’ voices also influenced the changes.
“I’ve received a few emails,” McKinney said. “And I’ve tried to respond to most of them.”
While some students may accept the adjustments with open arms, some consider the negatives.
“It is a good idea, but there are opposite sides to it because what if that student doesn’t pass all the classes that they need in order to graduate?” Michaela Hardy, senior international business and marketing major, said.
With May soon approaching, McKinney said the changes will be in effect immediately.
“My advice to students who are in that situation (is to) contact the registrar’s office,” McKinney said.
McKinney also mentioned the reason why summer commencement was axed in the first place.
“It’s very, very small,” he said. “It becomes a matter of resources, but then again, [we] completely underestimated the number of students who actually would be [affected].”
“This is something that just needs to be done, and so we’ll do it,” McKinney said. “It’s absolutely the right thing to do.”