GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg requested the Student Association pass a resolution to express its opinion about keeping graduation on the Ellipse.
Trachtenberg said he asked for the resolution because he wanted assurance students still want graduation on the Ellipse. He said he did not write the memo because he wants to see Commencement move from its current location.
“A great deal of work goes into (holding graduation on the Ellipse), and we want to feel the people that we’re doing it for are aware of the pros and cons and they are in fact in favor of this,” Trachtenberg said.
Trachtenberg said there are many risks involved with holding graduation on the Ellipse, citing the 1995 graduation, which was canceled because of a lightning storm. Trachtenberg said weather problems are something “totally out of anyone’s control,” and he wanted to feel confident he was taking the risk of using the Ellipse with student approval.
Four years ago, administrators asked for student opinion about Commencement on the Ellipse, and students were strongly in favor of it. But because the University consists of new students, with potentially different opinions, Trachtenberg said he feels the need to gauge student opinion again.
“The University is like a running stream with people constantly coming and going,” he said. “We think we know what students want, but four years have passed, and students might feel like they weren’t consulted.”
Caity Leu, the SA’s executive vice president, said the issue will not ignite controversy among senators.
SA President Phil Meisner said he will probably author the piece of legislation and introduce it at the first SA Senate meeting Aug. 31. He said he expects positive response to the legislation.
Trachtenberg said he also expects the response will be positive and graduation will be on the Ellipse this year, but he will continue periodically to seek student input in future years.
“I’ve always loved graduation on the Ellipse,” he said.