Graduating students share thoughts on two-guest limit for commencement

CSUSM is only permitting 2020-2021 graduates to bring two guests to prevent COVID cases from spreading.

Melanie Ramirez

CSUSM is only permitting 2020-2021 graduates to bring two guests to prevent COVID cases from spreading.

Jaelyn Decena, A&E Editor

CSUSM’s Office of the President sent out emails announcing that they are hosting a traditional in-person graduation ceremony on March 19. The graduation ceremonies will take place on May 22 and 23, planning to celebrate the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021. 

The pandemic has revealed the grit and resilience of CSUSM’s students as the university inches its way towards normalcy again. However, this pandemic has definitely offset many people’s graduation plans as it was announced merely a month prior to the commencement date, and each student is only allowed two non-transferable tickets. 

The Office of the President states that two non-transferable tickets per student is a way to promote social distancing. The commencement ceremony will be livestreamed for other family and friends who are unable to make it to commencement.

Some students have chosen to delay their graduation to either fall 2021 or spring 2022 in hopes for a more traditional commencement ceremony. The ticket limit and short notice has left some students no choice but to not attend graduation.

One student that’s unable to attend the graduation ceremony is class of 2020 graduate Devon Kimbrough, who majored in communications. Kimbrough had moved to Virginia, assuming she’d “be back in a few months to attend [her] graduation.” 

Yet, the 2021 commencement meant Kimbrough would need to figure out a way to fly out, take time off and coordinate with her family in just a little over a month, ultimately deterring her from attending the 2021 commencement ceremony.

Students are also unsure about the limited amount of tickets that each student gets. Senior history student Emily Knoff said, “Honestly, two tickets doesn’t bother me. The fact that we’re having an in-person ceremony is amazing.” 

Knoff acknowledges that being able to have a traditional graduation ceremony is a privilege, especially given that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Knoff added,  “I don’t think people should be able to resell [tickets] because I think that will complicate social distancing procedures.” 

Literature and writing studies major Kimberly Palmer is one student that decided to delay their graduation to the fall 2021 semester. When asked if two tickets per student is fair, Palmer said, “I don’t think it’s fair for two tickets. [If anything] maybe three to four.”

Literature and writing studies student Grace Davis also agrees that two tickets per student seems fair. “I think two tickets per graduate sounds fair on its own,” said Davis. 

However, Davis thinks that “students should definitely be able to resell tickets that they don’t need. I understand we’re prioritizing health and safety, but graduating college for many is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that should be shared with loved ones, especially considering how many first generation college students we have here at San Marcos.” 

While this year’s graduation ceremony may look a bit different, CSUSM’s 2020 and 2021 graduates are finally able to experience the traditional ceremony that they have been waiting for.

Jaelyn Decena is a transfer student from MSJC majoring in literature and writing studies with a double minor in film/TV production and film studies. She currently holds the position as the Arts & Entertainment section editor at The Cougar Chronicle. A fun fact about her is that she loves Disney and enjoys roller skating.