Long graduations may deter elderly, disabled family members

I have seen many valid points addressed in the Opinion section of the DE pertaining to the changes in our new graduation ceremonies at SIUC. I have expressed many of these myself, but there is one topic I have not yet seen thoroughly discussed.

Graduation ceremonies, as “unifying” as the Chancellor believes they are, are not just for the students. Many of our families have helped us, as students, through thick and thin, and they deserve to see the fruits of that labor.

I am planning to graduate in May, but I would not be walking in the ceremony if it were not for one person: my little brother. My little brother has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a terminal muscle-wasting disease. He is on a breathing machine and relies on a battery to survive. He desperately wants to see me graduate.

My question is a heavy one, but it seems to be one the administration did not consider when changing graduation ceremonies so drastically.

How many students have family members who are elderly or disabled and may not be able to sit through an elongated ceremony? I know many other students who have expressed dismay at these changes for this very reason.

Some have even said it is not worth it to sit through what may be a four-hour or longer ceremony. I think the chancellor was far from correct when she said these changes may cause undecided people to attend.

If my dying brother did not want to see me walk across that stage, I certainly would not be going.

Jessica Miller 
senior from Centralia studying linguistics

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