UT's Priorities

Why has UT Austin decided to cancel the winter graduate convocation?

Tomorrow marks the first day of the new academic year at UT Austin, but the end of this semester could be a little anti-climactic. Since the administrators up in the Tower decided to not bother with this December's graduation ceremony, graduate students may start to feel a little unloved.

The university has gone hell-for-leather to get rebuilding at the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium at least partially completed for season's start on Saturday. But construction at the nearby Bass Concert Hall, traditional home to the graduate winter convocation, proceeds at a crawl. Although the December ceremonies are usually smaller than the mass Summer event, it's still a big moment in the lives of hundreds of students. However, on that enormous campus, it seems it's impossible to find an alternate venue. So it's just being canceled.

In an August 8 email, Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Victoria E. Rodriguez announced that graduating students will be able to attend the ceremony in Summer 2008. This ignores the fact that, almost definitionally, the graduating students will probably no longer be in Austin or even in the state, or (considering how many international students UT attracts) even in the US by then. It also seems to ignore the fact that UT would grind to a halt without its graduate students working as teaching and research assistants.

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