MSU summer graduates not allowed to walk at spring graduation, students react

Some seniors unhappy with graduation changes
Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 5:36 PM EST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX)- Commencement ceremonies at Michigan State University in May will be the first in-person graduations in nearly two years. But some MSU students are going to have to wait a few months longer to walk across the stage.

Some MSU seniors say they were under the impression that if they were going to graduate during the summer, they’d be allowed to walk at spring commencement. But under a new policy, that’s not happening anymore.

“It’s like celebrating your birthday six months later. Like, what’s the point?” says MSU senior Ashlynn Seymour. Seymour has been planning to celebrate the achievement with her friends and family in May before she earns the last of her credits this summer.

“I just need to take History 140,” Seymour says. “I could have taken it this semester. My advisor told me that I didn’t need to take a 19-credit semester though.”

So, Seymour figured why overload herself with too much work? She could just bang out the work for the class this summer and still graduate with her friends in the spring.

MSU announced the commencement schedule this week. The university will host more than 50 outdoor graduation ceremonies, where spring graduates can bring two people. But, summer grads are not going to be a part of the spring commencement. They’ll have to wait until the fall to celebrate.

An online petition is going around campus now and gathering steam. More than 800 people have signed their names, hoping to get the university to change its policy.

MSU though doesn’t appear to be considering a u-turn. MSU spokesperson Dan Olsen released a statement to News 10 that reads,

“Graduation is one of the greatest traditions in higher education and one of several college experiences that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “MSU has made every effort to plan smaller in-person graduation ceremonies while still maintaining the health and safety of all participants. The well-being of our graduates, their guests and our community remain our top priority. “Traditionally, students receiving their degrees during the summer terms have been invited to attend either the previous spring or following fall graduation. To best protect the health and safety of our graduates, their guests and our community, this year MSU, unfortunately, is not able to accommodate additional students and guests at the spring ceremonies, but we look forward to celebrating the successes and accomplishments of our summer graduates this fall.”

Students say this could have been avoided if the announcement would have come before January 25. That’s when the add-drop period ended.

“You don’t want anything bad to come. You know you don’t want anything to spread or anything like that, but this is like the dozenth eye roll I’ve had to do in response to a decision State’s made,” said senior Darin Baydoun.

Baydoun is in the same boat as Seymour. He switched majors during his college career and some credits didn’t transfer over. Now, he’s got his name signed onto the petition too.

“As far as I understood, students do that a lot and as long as you finish by the summer, you can have your graduation no problem,” Baydoun said. “And I don’t know what I’m doing in the fall.”

Seymour says her family already had travel plans made.

“Oh yeah, my grandparents had plane tickets from Arizona, so that’s kind of a bummer,” Seymour said. “There’s a huge capacity in Spartan Stadium. It’s open-air. You could totally distance. There’s totally ways that they can do it, it just seems like this is just like the easy way out.”

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