Editorial: Bring dignity back to graduation

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 24, 2004

Undergraduates planning to graduate in December breathed a collective sigh of relief Monday as President Likins reinstated the university-wide commencement.

Though one can surmise this decision was a sign of good will from the administration, there are other possibilities as to the outcome of this episode.

It would not be wholly unreasonable to assume that this stunt was some carefully devised plan by President Likins.

That there was no actual threat of a December cancellation.

That the intention of this drastic measure was to affect change - i.e. the end of our unique UA tradition of tortilla throwing - after years of these reprimands falling on deaf ears.

For this well-played hand, congratulations should be extended to Likins and the administration.

Be that as it may, though the threat of a December cancellation may have been just a cunning ploy at behavior modification, the fact remains that the powers that be wield considerable power and have shown us that they will not hesitate to use their clout, namely in the form of stealing graduation away from us.

Though the threat has been averted, one cannot ignore our present reality: The manner in which this year's December graduates conduct themselves will form a precedent in terms of the execution of future graduations, if any at all will continue to be celebrated.

Now that we have been given our last warning by the administration, the continuation of graduation rests entirely on our shoulders.

If we, the student body, have learned anything from this incident, it is that the honor of having a graduation ceremony is not a given.

It is a privilege and should accordingly be treated with the proper respect.

Though many cite the UA tradition of throwing tortillas, the tradition of having an actual graduation ceremony is a tradition that far exceeds in importance the flinging of flour products.

(Yet, one cannot deny students the exhibition of joy at this ceremony, at achieving something that took years of hard work and sacrifice.)

However, there is a difference between a display of youthful exuberance and demonstrating a total lack of respect for the ceremony and our distinguished speakers.

If we are truly ready to enter the real world as this ceremony suggests, then we should be able to tell the difference between these two and act wisely.

If we are to prove to the administration that this honor should never be taken away, then we must realize that graduation does not represent our last time to act as children.

It represents the next step in our journey into adulthood.

Staff editorials are the opinion of the editorial board and written by one of its members. Its members consist of Susan Bonicillo, Nate Buchik, Evan Caravelli, Brett Fera, Caitlin Hall, and Andrea Kelley.