Sam Houston state seniors are frustrated that they won’t be able to take the stage at their graduation ceremony

Sam Houston State University’s decision to cancel students walking across the stage at the spring graduation ceremony has created an uproar of frustration among graduate seniors and their families. The unexpected change in the program was not well-received by the students, who had been eagerly preparing for the occasion.

The decision to cancel the walk across the stage was made public a few days before the graduation ceremony. The abrupt change sparked outrage among the students and their families who expressed frustration combined with surprise.

One of the students affected by the decision, Lara Thomas, expressed her agitation at the university’s actions, saying, “I’m very upset about this, especially about all this money, and they could have told us in advance.” John Manix, whose daughter was among the graduating class, described the decision as “heartbreaking” and emphasized the symbolic value of the walk across the stage.

In an email sent to students, the university administration announced that there would be no graduation stage. Instead, graduates would receive their diplomas on the floor of the Colosseum. Thomas expressed her disappointment at this arrangement, saying, “We’ll walk in front of the stage, they say it’s nonsense.” Responding to the students’ frustration, a petition was started, which subsequently generated over 10,000 signatures.

The petition criticized the university for canceling the walk across the stage to prevent onstage “dancing.” Manix was of the opinion that the university should have informed students of the plans before the graduation ceremony. He suggested that better solutions could have been found that would satisfy all stakeholders.

The university responded to the criticism, stating that they were committed to hosting a safe and accessible graduation ceremony for everyone. Similarly, it was noted that universities across the state are moving the stage to the floor as part of the ceremony. Graduates would be individually recognized by name and receive their diplomas from President White in this arrangement.

Manix expressed his disappointment and how it felt to be robbed of a moment that did not only hold significant value for his family but was also important for many other students and their families. “Obviously we are very proud of her, she has really worked and is graduating on the principal’s list,” he said. Thomas confirmed that she was reconsidering her participation in the graduation ceremony.

The graduation ceremony is scheduled for May 11, 12, and 13 at Sam Houston State’s Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

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