Assistant Sports Editor
LIU Post is billing the commencement ceremony at Barclays Center as a “historic event”, but some students aren’t seeing it quite the same way.
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that the year I graduate with the class of 2013, they decide to do it at the Barclays,” said senior journalism major Genna Apfel. “Many students, and myself, feel that it should just be at Post alone and not at any of the other campuses.”
The idea of a combined commencement has been under consideration since the summer of 2011 and was made in part due to the cost of ceremony. The university is also pushing the idea that the unified ceremony would bring the Long Island University community together, though Apfel does not agree.
“We don’t know anyone from Brooklyn, Brentwood, Riverhead,” she explained. “So why would we want to be at the Barclays Center… I am very disappointed in the school.”
Apfel says she won’t be attending the Barclays Center ceremony. She isn’t alone, as Cecilie Nag, senior journalism major from Norway, also says she isn’t planning on attending. However in Nag’s case it is not because of the location, rather, it is due to the fact it is a week after LIU Post traditionally holds it. The commencement will be held on May 16th to accommodate the different academic schedules.
“Since it’s so late I don’t think I will attend,” Nag said. “I would much rather have it at school where it usually is. My parents were supposed to come see me graduate, but they booked tickets already, and they’re going back the 12th.”
The limited number of tickets available to students, two per student, has also been a source of controversy and a reason for students declining to attend. LIU Post is holding smaller ceremonies on Friday, May 11th, and Saturday, May 12th, on campus which students are finding more appealing.
“I’m debating if I even want to walk at all since I’m graduating early,” said Marissa Lando, a senior Electronic Media major. “If I do walk I think I’ll just do the visual arts and sciences ceremony. Barclay’s is a great venture, but we have Tilles [Center] right here. I feel like it just isn’t necessary.”
Since the announcement was made two weeks ago, the University’s Facebook page has been inundated with negative feedback regarding the Barclays commencement. One poster called it “a waste of time.” While another asked: “Why would a student want to have their graduation ceremony at a campus they’ve never been to?”
And while there seems to be a lot of backlash, it doesn’t seem like Post will change its mind this year or for the foreseeable future. President Steinberg recently told the Pioneer, “If it doesn’t work and if there’s a deep sense of anger, well that’s my successor’s problem. But we’ll probably continue doing it anyway because we are one university.”
On paper the idea probably sounded nice: a unified commencement between LIU’s different campuses at the brand-new Barclays Center. But logistically it is not ideal trying to fit the families of graduates from every LIU campus into a 19,000-seat basketball arena. LIU Post alone has over 8,000 students. It is understandable that students aren’t happy because with the move to the Barclays, you lose the tradition of graduation on the Great Lawn.
I wouldn’t expect a large turnout from the LIU Post community for the commencement ceremony and hopefully the university will make adjustments to please the students that will be graduating, though President Steinberg’s words aren’t all that encouraging.