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UWS grads must limit guests in new venue

Brad Phenow

For the first time, the University of Wisconsin-Superior graduating students will have to limit the number of guests they can invite to commencement ceremonies. And that’s upset more than a few students.

Spring commencement has been held at Wessman Arena for years with no limitations on how many guests students may invite.

This year, UWS administration has changed the venue to the Marcovich Wellness Center Field House. That means limiting the number of guests to four, even if the guest is an infant. Dean of Students Vicki Hajewski says there may be more tickets. “We have originally allocated four tickets for every graduate, and then we will have a waiting list.”

Hajweski says the acoustics is one reason Wessman isn’t an ideal location. “It’s not a great venue for things like commencement where you want it to look special and you want it look and feel more intimate.”

Student Body Vice President Kara Schmidt says administration chose the venue change on their own. “Commencement isn’t within our jurisdiction. According to state statute, that is a decision that is made by administration. As much as we would like to give input, they don’t actually have to come to us for it.”

She says student government has previously talked about changes to commencement with Chancellor Renee Wachter. “But the type of changes we were talking about were very different, and it was more for a few years later.”

Mary Roe is a non-traditional graduating student getting her masters in counseling. She says the four-ticket policy is making things stressful.

“I’m scrambling to figure how I’m going to do this, I have an elderly mother who is turning 80, and children, and son-in-laws, there is just not enough tickets. To be able to plan ahead, how do I choose?”

She says she doesn’t understand why they would make the change so abruptly. “If we have a facility that we can all go and be at, I don’t see the logic in choosing that facility over a larger facility.”

UWS Junior Lindsey Dobson says she hopes it goes back to Wessman when it’s her turn to graduate. “I have a lot of people in my family that want to attend because I’m the only one in my family that is graduating from college. It’s kind of a big deal and it’s going to be hard to pick four.”

Brandon Freeman is a senior at UWS. He says it’s been frustrating. “It has made things a little more difficult on me and I’m sure my friends too.”

Commencement is at 2 p.m. Saturday. If guests are unable to get tickets, they can view the ceremony on a projector in the gymnasium or via live stream.