The ends do not justify the means
Stephen A. Schwarzman and Nancy G. Brinker have been announced as the commencement speakers for the class of 2012 graduation. The QU administration said it was difficult to find either two comparable speakers for each ceremony or one speaker who would do both.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with either of these speakers. We have a filthy rich man speaking to the business school and a former ambassador and U.S. Chief of Protocol speaking at the second graduation. I do not have a problem with who the speakers are, but rather how they were chosen.
All throughout last year the commencement committee worked with the Student Government Association Junior Class Cabinet on graduation ideas and particulars. Class of 2012 President Emily Sarnoff and Vice President Dan Scott continue to work with the committee in the months leading up to graduation. Class of 2011 President Dan Dempsey thought the same thing of his cabinet’s experience last year.
“The committee certainly valued my opinion and whenever I spoke they listened,” Dempsey said.
The committee was very receptive about meeting with the Senior Class Cabinet, hearing our ideas and concerns, and voicing their opposition or support. The problem is that it all now seems like lip service.
The idea of a different commencement is a harsh reality of an ever-growing student body, and everybody involved knew that. The commencement committee presented the Senior Class Cabinet with two options they deemed viable. The options included a bare-bones ceremony with no major keynote speaker or four separate ceremonies with lesser known speakers. After gathering data from a large number of seniors, the overwhelming majority favored the single ceremony with less pomp and circumstance.
We were then told that commencement was going to be split into two ceremonies, with the idea of a speaker seemingly eliminated. Then, we were told that these two individuals would be speaking to our class.
This is much unlike last year, Dempsey claims. “My thoughts on our role in SGA was, we were elected by our peers to be representatives of them to administration. That was precisely what we did,” Dempsey said.
The class of 2012 was given no such opportunity in regards to speakers. When we were given the opportunity with commencement organization, we were essentially ignored.
At no juncture did the Senior Class Cabinet and the senior class at large, give any input like we were led to believe. There was no student input into finding these speakers. Dempsey said of the class of 2011’s input, “I don’t think the committee would’ve looked anywhere else but our list unless it was a last resort.” We did not get that.
I think the “powers that be” did a fine job finding individuals, but the way they went about it was not inclusive, representative, nor in the promised manner.