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Roadblock on path to commencement

Successful scheduling falls beyond administration’s ability

Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 23:02


Art by Amber Sliter, The Spectrum

UB has proven itself unable to schedule final exams and a commencement ceremony.

This year, Winter Session disrupted the regularly routine scheduling process that the Office of Special Events and Faculty Senate conduct. There is a timing conflict between commencement and some final exams.

Though Winter Session was positive for the students who took advantage of it, and for the administration’s pocketbook, that hardly excuses the ineptitude of failing to complete so simple a task.

Lack of coordination and communication between the two groups is likely to blame.

The Faculty Senate, a group that can rarely cobble together enough faculty members to even vote, much less communicate a coherent message, likely also has problems communicating its scheduling for final exams.

UB will hold commencement ceremonies, a time typically reserved for a breath of relief after four (or more) years of work, before some students are actually finished.

Final exams will taint the symbolism of the event, as students walk the stage with unfinished requirements looming overhead.

Beyond this, however, remains the obvious question – what if students do not pass those finals after they’ve already walked the stage? Final exams are often a make-or-break moment for students in whether they pass or fail required courses.

Well, if they fail, they won’t graduate. The symbolism of commencement will go from lessened to completely pointless.

Though the issue of walking and then finding out you failed has always existed, not taking the exam until after graduation exaggerates the issue.

Students did receive an apology from Senior Vice Provost of Student Affairs A. Scott Weber, who took responsibility for the overlap.

If the administration wants to take on new responsibilities like the Winter Session – which was as much a success for the university as it was for many students – UB should first demonstrate it can handle the complicated world of non-conflicting event planning.

The oversight would have likely gone unnoticed if it weren’t among a rapidly growing list of careless mishaps by UB. As the university becomes more invested in pursuing goals for the future, growing and expanding to become a more prestigious institution, it would benefit decision-makers to pay at least as much attention to day-to-day operations.

Until students start expressing their frustration with these problems, however, little will change. A campus that requires much of students in terms of performance and payments should be held to a higher standard.

If students must demonstrate a certain level of competence before they can be awarded with graduation, perhaps the administration should demonstrate a certain level of due diligence before making decisions.



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