The class of 2019 will be starting a new tradition this year, which has resulted in mixed emotions among seniors. Earlier this school year, Meredith announced graduation will no longer be at Dorton Arena; instead it will be held at NC State’s Reynolds Coliseum. Although Reynolds Coliseum seems to be a step up from Dorton Arena, there has been a voicing of complaints among students. However, a few students are applauding the news of a new graduation arena. Callie Crawford, a pro-Reynolds senior, said, “When I went to graduation last year, I could barely hear the commencement speaker due to the inadequate sound system.” According to a Meredith staff member, Dorton Arena’s sound system is one of the reasons Meredith opted to change graduation locations. Crawford expressed further gratitude for the change because Reynolds has air conditioning, while Dorton does not. Crawford is not the only one who is excited to see graduation being moved to an air conditioned building.
Briana Landis, a senior at Meredith who serves on the Intercollegiate Student Advisory Board, is welcoming the move with open arms. Landis claimed that “one of the jobs the marshalls took on was to help these people not miss [their] daughter, or some cases son, walk across the stage. No one should be so hot that they have to worry about missing their family member cross.” The heat was no longer a matter of convenience, but also a safety matter. Landis said there was a heat-related medical emergency during the class of 2018’s graduation. The majority of students walking this May agree that Dorton Arena is too hot to be a graduation venue, but many students are still upset with the new location.
Most of the objections are a result of the new ticket policy. Due to the layout and size of Reynolds Coliseum, graduates are only granted 7 tickets. A well-involved senior at Meredith who wished to stay anonymous was especially dismayed by the limited ticket policy. She said, “It does not accommodate many graduates’ families and puts students in a position to exclude. Knowing that Dorton Arena has always offered Meredith students unlimited guests, it should have been a priority to find a location that matched this precedent.” Yessy Anorve-Basoria, a senior with a large family, said the ticket policy will create family drama because who she decides to bring will show disrespect to the other family members who were not asked to come. In contrast to Anorve-Basoria, Landis believes graduates will be able to include everyone at graduation, regardless of the ticket policy, because students who are not using all their tickets are allowed to give their tickets to other graduates who need more.
Although the majority of graduates are upset about the new ticket policy, some students are more upset about the location of graduation. Caitlin Chastain, a graduating senior, was upset that Meredith’s graduation is being held on NC State’s campus. Chastain commented, “I feel like Meredith girls are always having to fight this battle with people because they can’t wrap their head around women’s colleges. So there is this weird attitude that we are just a big sorority off of NC State’s campus.”
A Meredith staff member who knew about the details of the decision mentioned faculty and staff were faced with a tough decision on deciding where to move graduation once realizing Dorton Arena could no longer be an option. Staff wanted a convenient graduation location that would be able to fit in the budget, while also being available on the day of graduation. Reynolds Coliseum was the location that best fit the needs for Meredith’s graduation, and at the end of the day, everyone will be crossing the stage in a Meredith cap and gown.
By Ashley Ricks, Staff Writer