The California State University, Chico has notified students the university will be limiting the number of guests allowed to attend Spring Commencement ceremonies on May 17 and 18 due to safety concerns.
University President Paul Zingg notified students in an email sent last Friday morning.
“Unfortunately, the undergraduate Commencement, held on the Saturday and Sunday after finals week, has become so popular that it has created problems for our venue, the University Stadium,” Zingg wrote in his email. “Upwards of 10,000 people attend Commencement on both Saturday and Sunday, when in recent years we typically have had 1,500 or more graduates participating either day… as our enrollment has grown over the years, so, too, has the number of graduates and those who wish to attend Commencement. Simply put, there are now too many people at these events for the size and dimensions of the stadium. Because we are unable to safely accommodate everyone who wants to attend Commencement in the stadium, we must make changes starting this spring.”
Those changes include a ticketing system aimed at keeping the stadium audience at a safe size during the ceremonies. There will be no charge for Commencement tickets and each student can obtain up to five tickets for family and friends to attend. Additional tickets for viewing the Commencement on a live broadcast in either Laxson Auditorium or Harlen Adams Theatre will be available at a first-come first-serve basis.
“I want to be very clear that this is a serious safety consideration” wrote Zingg. “Our Public Safety Advisory Committee, comprised of faculty, staff and administrators, has concluded that emergency evacuations are threatened by the number of people in the stadium at Commencement. Police, fire and other first responders could not respond quickly and effectively enough if there was a medical emergency or immediate need to evacuate the stadium.”
The university has provided link to a series of frequently asked questions about ticketing and other arrangements for Spring 2014 Commencement athttp://www.csuchico.edu/commencement/Tickets.shtml. For additional questions students can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I know that these new arrangements may disappoint some graduating students, families and friends,” said Zingg. “I have met many graduates who have had up to 12 family members and friends come to the stadium to watch them walk across the stage. Please know we will make every effort to work with graduates to utilize every stadium ticket available and get any extras to those who want them.”