The University sent an e-mail to graduating students last night inviting them to take a survey about their priorities for this year’s Spring Commencement ceremony. The survey will be available until 9 a.m. tomorrow.

The survey, which consists of 12 questions, comes weeks after University officials announced that the ceremony would be held at Eastern Michigan University’s Rynearson Stadium instead of Michigan Stadium because of the ongoing construction of new luxury boxes. The $226 million stadium renovation project began Nov. 18, the day after the final home game of the football season, against Ohio State.

The survey was designed to inform University officials of students’ preferences for commencement. One question asks, “How important is it for you to have the ceremony on campus?” Another asks, “What is the minimum number of tickets you need for guests?” Most questions let students give responses ranging from “Very Important” to “Not important at all”.

The survey’s first two questions ask students what school they are graduating from and what level degree they’ll be attaining.

The survey comes in response to the uproar created by students and alumni. Numerous students started Facebook groups opposing the change. One of them has garnered more than 3,700 members. Some alumni have written e-mails to University President Mary Sue Coleman protesting the decision. E. Royster Harper, the University’s vice president for student affairs, originally said it would take an outcry of “80 to 90 percent” of graduating students to make University officials rethink their decision. Last week, University officials said they would reconsider the Big House as a possible location for the graduation. Other venues under consideration include Rynearson Stadium, Crisler Arena and the Diag.

Previously, University officials said it wouldn’t be possible to hold commencement at Michigan Stadium because the construction would make the stadium’s public bathrooms unusable and would restrict access to many of its gates.

Among the people who will analyze the surveys are three graduate and undergraduate students chosen by Michigan Student Assembly President Mohammad Dar, along with officials from the Provost’s office and the President’s office.

The survey doesn’t say when a decision will be made about a commencement venue.

THE SURVEY

“You are being invited to participate in this survey to help determine the priorities of prospective graduates in regards to Spring Commencement on Saturday, April 26, 2008.

The survey becomes available at 9 pm today, Tuesday, January 22 and will remain available until 9 am Thursday, January 24. There are 12 multiple-choice questions and the survey should take about 10 minutes to complete.

Please encourage your friends and fellow classmates who plan to graduate this April to also take the survey. The advisory committee will then analyze and assess the survey results, the research on the viability of Michigan Stadium for commencement, and additional information regarding campus venues.

Students needing help taking the survey can contact the office of Services for Students with Disabilities (763-3000) or go to the Dean of Students’ Office (3000 Michigan Union) for a paper copy of the survey.

Survey results will be posted at http://www.commencement.umich.edu when they are available.//www.commencement.umich.edu/>

Thank you,
Commencement Advisory Committee

1. Which degree do you expect to receive at commencement?

1. Bachelor’s

2. Master’s

3. PhD or other professional degree

2. What is your primary school or college affiliation? (Please choose one.)

1. A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

2. School of Art and Design

3. Stephen M. Ross School of Business

4. School of Dentistry

5. School of Education

6. College of Engineering

7. School of Information

8. Division of Kinesiology

9. Law School

10. College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

11. Medical School

12. School of Music, Theatre & Dance

13. School of Natural Resources and Environment

14. School of Nursing

15. College of Pharmacy

16. School of Public Health

17. Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

18. Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies

19. School of Social Work

3. As a graduate, you will not need a ticket for commencement. Ideally, what is the number of tickets you want for your guests?

1. Fewer than 3

2. 4-5

3. 6-7

4. 8 or more

4. What is the minimum number of tickets you need for your guests?

1. Fewer than 3

2. 4-5

3. 6-7

4. 8 or more

5. How important is it for you to attend the same ceremony as your school or college classmates?

1. Very important

2. Somewhat important

3. Not very important

4. Not at all important

6. How important is it for you to attend the same ceremony as friends who are graduating from another school or college?

1. Very important

2. Somewhat important

3. Not very important

4. Not at all important

7. Traditionally, graduates march into the venue prior to the ceremony. How important is it for you to participate in a graduate procession?

1. Very important

2. Somewhat important

3. Not very important

4. Not at all important

8. How important is it for you, as the graduate, to see the commencement ceremony live (as opposed to video feed)?

1. Very important

2. Somewhat important

3. Not very important

4. Not at all important

9. If you and a limited number of your guests could be accommodated in one location for a live ceremony, would it be acceptable for the remainder of your guests to view the ceremony via video in a satellite location?

1. This is acceptable.

2. This is unacceptable.

10. Taking into consideration any elderly guests and guests with limited mobility in your party, how important are issues of accessibility? (Issues such as handicap parking, guest drop-off location, proximity to restrooms, availability of a rain venue.)

1. Very important

2. Somewhat important

3. Not very important

4. Not at all important

11. How important is it for you to have the ceremony on campus?

1. Very important

2. Somewhat important

3. Not very important

4. Not at all important

12. Which is the most important factor to you?

1. Having all my guests (up to 8) attend the same live ceremony

2. Attending the same ceremony as my graduating friends,
regardless of our school or college affiliation

3. Participating in a graduate procession

4. Attending the same ceremony as the commencement speaker

5. Having the ceremony on campus”

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