Students Friday evening took to social media in an uproar upon hearing that each student was denied the possible two extra tickets to the graduation commencement, just over two weeks away.
The 2017 Brooklyn College Commencement is being held for the first time this year at the Barclay Center in downtown Brooklyn, which is proving to disrupt annual student/department traditions, office expectations and graduating students’ plans for guests that they had hoped to attend.
The Barclay Center seats 18,103. Combining the undergraduate/graduate commencements has filled up just about 16,000 seats, and the remaining are to be used for the stage and other space requirements.
For this event, the capacity is maxed at approximately 16,000 seats. Brooklyn College had initially set a lower capacity, but based on the increased number of students requesting to participate, opened up the seating behind the stage. To date, there are over 3,100 students requesting to participate, 230 faculty members as well as approximately 100 reserved seats for platform party guests, donors, Brooklyn College Foundation members, Alumni Association Board Members, and guests of the 50th Anniversary class.
“I understand the frustration that students have about not getting the additional tickets,” said Dean Ronald Jackson in response to the student outrage. “However, we continued to receive requests from graduates as late as today, and have been working to accommodate them although the deadline was April 9th.”
Dean Jackson noted that they had even rented additional chairs because they exceeded what the Barclay Center had in stock.
One student noted that the promotional ad for the commencement celebrates Bernie Sanders more than it does Brooklyn College, and one student mentioned that the three minute speech given by members of student government will be given the boot because of “time constraints.” The CLAS student government president, whose tradition it is to give a brief speech, has been cancelled.
Despite student outrage and contradictory to voiced opinions now, Brooklyn College said that most preferred the Barclay Center. According to a poll conducted by the Brooklyn College facebook page, “A poll was emailed to all graduating students in October 2016, and 82 percent of respondents said they preferred commencement to be held off campus.”
The most significant problem students are faced with is having to cancel plans with family members who they were expecting to attend. Many are improvising by having children sit on laps, but most will have to wait outside.
The Brooklyn College “Commencement Team” did not make a comment when asked about the issue, but forwarded a formal contact form instead.