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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Makeup commencement and regalia refund updates announced after cancelled ceremony

The makeup commencement ceremony will be planned based on feedback from a survey sent out in late June to recent graduates, according to UC Davis Chancellor Gary May 

By JADE BELL — campus@theaggie.org

Plans for a $58 regalia refund and a makeup commencement ceremony for undergraduate students were announced by UC Davis Chancellor Gary May after heat safety concerns caused the original graduation ceremony on June 10 to be cut short

To address concerns such as travel and financial costs, the university sent out a survey for spring 2022 graduates to fill out by July 6, which May wrote about in his June 13 Checking in With Chancellor May newsletter.

“We are also working on a survey that we will send to […] impacted students about their feedback for the timing of a makeup commencement,” May said. “Once we get feedback from the survey, we’ll provide further details about dates and times.”

The survey, which, according to UC Davis alumna Marielle Rikkelman, was sent out to recent graduates on June 27, asked about how important certain graduation components were to them. These elements included walking across the stage, listening to student speeches, having their name read, student awards and so on. 

In addition, the survey asked undergraduate students to rank suggested times for a makeup ceremony. Those times were either late Aug. 2022, Dec. 2022, June 2023 or another time not listed. 

However, despite the use of this survey to gather feedback, students such as Alejandra Mejia, who recently graduated with a degree in psychology from UC Davis, cited various concerns about the makeup ceremony.

“I feel like the makeup commencement is a slap to the face to the student body,” Mejia said via Instagram direct message (DM). “UC Davis had months to plan. It is also a very privileged mindset for them to think that people and their loved ones have money to travel and take time off work for something that should have gone smoothly. UC Davis has the money and resources to plan a successful commencement. They chose not to, so I won’t be attending.”

Kai Obens, who graduated with a degree in design from UC Davis in the spring, also expressed travel concerns.

“I’ve planned out my whole summer with little margin for unexpected travel,” Kai said via Instagram DM. “I don’t think my family can make the time either, which would have a large factor in my decision.”

Bea Rondon, who graduated in the spring with a degree in cinema and digital media, applied for the regalia refund, expressing that it was the least she could do to ease the graduation’s financial burden on her family.

“Although I got to use my regalia during my assigned commencement ceremony on June 10, I did not get to walk up on stage and see my name on screen,” Rondon said via Instagram DM. “My family cannot take back the money they spent on plane tickets, hotel rooms, and car rentals to attend my commencement, only for it to be canceled midway. Applying for this refund is a small way I can make it up to my family for their financial sacrifices to support me and my graduation.”

Chancellor May also responded to student concerns about commencement being cut short in his June 13 newsletter. An update released on the day of the canceled ceremony announced plans for shortened Saturday and Sunday ceremonies which would include guest speeches but not reading the graduates’ names; following this update, May said that student feedback was taken into account in order to revise the plan again.

“After we shared that update with you, we heard from many of you about how important it was that you could cross the stage and have your name announced,” May said in the newsletter. “Because of the revisions we made to Saturday and Sunday’s ceremonies, we made it possible for everyone who attended either ceremony to be recognized on stage. Again, I want to acknowledge the disappointment that some of you have voiced on what should have been a time of celebration.”

Written by: Jade Bell — campus@theaggie.org