As alumni, students should not donate

To the Daily:

I have spent at least the last decade fantasizing about the day I would graduate in the Big House. Imagine my surprise to see the Daily’s story yesterday that graduation would not be held there. I had two immediate thoughts. First, why is the University going on with a construction project that is currently in limbo because of litigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and a veterans’ rights group? Second, how does a construction project whose schedule had recently been set possibly interfere with an event that had been known for years?

I looked forward to my final moment at this University during which I could celebrate my modest achievements and a bright future with my family and friends in the stadium where I have spent some of my happiest and most exciting moments. While the place where you graduate is insignificant in the long run, the symbolism is important to me and I am sure to many of my peers. It is this symbolism that drives my desire to walk down the bleachers painted in the maize and blue of my beloved college instead of the green and white of an institution whose name means nothing beyond the border of this stagnant state.

This is the straw that broke the camel’s back. I intend never to donate directly to this institution after I graduate. I only hope that my peers will join me so the University remembers that its primary mission is to research and educate, which is made possible by alumni donors. Students become these donors, and we are the ones to whom the University must cater.

If nothing else, the University must allow us to graduate with dignity at our beloved Big House – before its great mutilation.

Kevin Wilson, LSA senior

A disappointment for parents too

To the Daily:

I am writing to voice my displeasure over the news that the Big House will not be available for my daughter’s commencement in April. While this is an incredible disappointment already, to hear the news that students will not graduate on their campus is obscene.

I have paid more than $130,000 for my daughter’s out-of-state tuition. To be told four months before graduation and not to be notified formally by mail is unthinkable. I am deeply puzzled by why the University administration cannot find an alternative to the Big House that is on campus. If I had wanted her to graduate at Eastern Michigan University, I would have sent her there, where they allow Ohio residents to pay in-state tuition instead of the out-of-state tuition we paid at University of Michigan.

Certainly, on a campus of more than 41,000 enrolled students, there must be some place to hold commencement to give this year’s graduates the same send off as those who have graduated from the University before them.

Please reconsider this decision and give our students the commencement they deserve.

Leslie McNamara: The letter writer is the parent of a University student.

EMU will be unique, get over yourselves

To the Daily:

I wish to submit my support for the University’s decision to hold commencement at a site that can accommodate enough people. It will be a great story to tell for years to come: How this year’s senior class was the only in recent memory to hold commencement off campus.

David Freiman, School of Music, Theatre and Dance senior

Would Coleman want office in Ypsi?

To the Daily:

I respect the fact that there is construction going on in the Big House. I respect the fact that the University has to accommodate more than 6,000 graduating seniors. I only wish the University would respect my desire to have a proper graduation. I grew up in a University of Michigan family and saw my brothers and cousins graduate from this university. I saw these commencements from the comfort of a seat at the Big House. If you recall, this is a seat I paid more than $200 to sit in at football games each year I’ve been a student here. I do not want my last memory of the University of Michigan to be in Ypsilanti.

I ask you University President Mary Sue Coleman, how can you rob us of our last Michigan experience? What if they put your office in Ypsilanti?

Meghan O’Neill, LSA senior

Green and white don’t make blue

To the Daily:

I was outraged to discover that the University’s Class of 2008 won’t be graduating at Michigan Stadium, or even on our own campus. As if it weren’t bad enough that our iconic stadium is going to be marred with ugly, costly skyboxes, we are now being pushed off our own campus for what is supposed to be the zenith of our time at the University.

The Big House represents much more than a practical venue to hold the University’s thousands of graduates and guests – for most of us it has been an emblem of our college careers since the moment we got here. We’ve worked hard here in Ann Arbor and expected to at least be able to graduate on our own campus.

It’s nothing personal Eastern Michigan: But no amount of “maize and blue-ing” at Rynearson Stadium will make us feel at home.

Jane Elizabeth Braun, LSA senior

Priority must be students, not money

To the Daily:

During winter break, I spoke with my family and friends about higher education. Some claimed that universities care solely about money, using donations and tuition to fund private projects that boost reputations. I disagreed with these people and defended the University of Michigan specifically, believing that the administration uses its money to help better the campus environment for its students.

Unfortunately, the University took a step that makes me question this belief – the relocation of Spring Commencement. I find it hard to believe that this detail would remain unnoticed during the years of debate about addition of the luxury boxes to the Big House. I can understand that moving graduation might have been necessary. However, why is it that this information was only revealed now? Were any students consulted before making these rearrangements? Is Eastern Michigan University, an institution that shares little more than proximity to the University of Michigan, really the best available option? The University did not reach out to the students affected by this event.

For a university that prides itself on leadership and concern for its students, I think that the poor decisions and lack of communication shown yesterday by the administration suggests that perhaps my critics were right: Maybe priority number one is our checkbooks.

Layne Scherer, LSA senior

‘U’ didn’t forget to plan for football

To the Daily:

I’ve always shrugged off jokes in the past about Michigan favoring football more than academics, but this is beyond ridiculous. The construction plans are going to take until August 2010 to complete. If the work can’t be held off until the Monday after Spring Commencement, then certainly it could have been scheduled in a way that the graduation crowd could have still been accommodated. If restrooms are the issue, leave a few bathrooms open or rent some portable bathrooms for a weekend.

These renovations seem more important than properly honoring the University’s graduates on the campus of which they are so proud. I assume football will still continue in the next few seasons during construction, showing that football is more important than the current students and alumni, both of which have financially supported this construction and cheer for the players who won’t be inconvenienced by this project.

To properly honor its graduates, the Big House is the only venue appropriate for commencement. The University owes students this.

Catherine Herzog, LSA senior

Snafu telling of misguided project

To the Daily:

Having to hold graduation at a completely different university is just one more reason why construction on Michigan Stadium was an ill-conceived and poorly-planned project. It is shame that we are more concerned with being able to start the football season on time than allowing our graduates, who have worked so diligently for years, to graduate at the institution they have come to know and love. Graduation is the culmination of a student’s most intensive educational endeavors: To force that joyous occasion to occur anywhere other than the university at which that student has labored, played and grown as a person is unacceptable.

Samantha Walls, Kinesiology senior

Tradition at Big House must prevail

To the Daily:

At the University, we pride ourselves in tradition. The announcement that commencement will not be held at Michigan Stadium is a slap in the face. The University Board of Regents needs to sympathize with the students and push back major stadium construction until after graduation. If they are planning to change the tradition of our stadium, the house that Yost built, please do not change the commencement tradition.

I owe everything to this university, but I refuse to end my years here at Michigan like this. With student, faculty and community support, we can change this decision. Please voice your opinion. Don’t let the Class of 2008 be cheated out of the greatest tradition in Michigan history.

Rachel Embree, LSA senior

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