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Undergraduate senators express support for an in-person graduation ceremony

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Senators expressed support for a resolution that asks the University to hold an optional, in-person graduation ceremony during Monday’s Undergraduate Senate meeting but were unable to vote on items with only seven members present. Instead, senators focused the meeting on drafting and debating new pieces of legislation.

Stanford announced it was reconsidering the initial all-virtual graduation plan after the California Department of Public Health guidelines for commencement ceremonies were released in March.

Cami Tussie ’21, who co-wrote the resolution on graduation with Senator Lenny DeFoe ’21, also started a petition for an optional, in-person graduation that currently has 473 signatories.

DeFoe brought up athletic event policies and the on-campus parade held for the women’s basketball championship: “If an event like that can happen … then commencement should follow in pursuit or some form of it,” he said.

Senator Emily Nichols ’23 also announced that she is drafting a resolution to increase academic accommodations for students.

“Due to the large amount of mass shootings taking place in this past month, and due to the trial of [Derek] Chauvin and the anxiety surrounding the verdict, it’s putting a lot of stress on students,” Nichols said. 

According to Nichols, it is important to ensure that professors are providing adequate accommodations and supporting students. She added that this is especially important now because recent events have “re-triggered a lot of students,” she said.

Over a thousand students petitioned the University for increased academic accommodations in the 2020 spring quarter, and instructors were provided guidance on grading transparency and other accommodations. Although some instructors provided support by extending deadlines or making final assignments optional, others were criticized by students for their response to accommodations requests. Students petitioned the University to reconsider their elimination of finals week this spring quarter, citing a disconnect between the policy intent and the follow-through by instructors.

Senators also reviewed a resolution advocating for a fully test-optional admissions process, and they plan to vote next week on a resolution that aims to institutionalize the Cantonese program at Stanford. 

A petition urging Stanford to renew the contract of its only Cantonese lecturer and sustain the Cantonese language program has received over 3,600 signatures.  

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Michaela Guo is a staff writer in the News section. She is a freshman and plans to study Human Biology and Asian American studies. Contact her at mguo ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.