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Some Cal Poly graduates upset over commencement ceremonies

Posted at 10:31 PM, Jun 17, 2019

Commencement ceremonies took place at Cal Poly this past weekend.

The university did things a bit differently this year and it’s not sitting well with some grads.

Cal Poly cut down graduation ceremonies from three to two in an effort to keep everyone out of the midday sun “and create for a more pleasant experience for all participants,” according to school officials.

The Saturday ceremony reportedly went off without a hitch; however, Sunday’s evening ceremony led to some unwanted results.

“It was honestly a big slap in the face to have such a poorly-run ceremony,” Cal Poly graduate Zach Donnenfield said.

Donnenfield was disappointed with the university’s commencement plans.

He said Sunday’s 5 p.m. ceremony gave him no chance to celebrate with his family after, who needed to return to the Bay Area for work Monday morning.

Donnenfield wasn’t the only one unhappy, as students and guests dealt with capacity issues, graduates were cutting lines to receive their diploma, and the later start time allowed for students to drink more throughout the day.

One student was caught on video passed out and taken away on a stretcher during the ceremony.

“Graduates were given way more time to go out and drink and as a result a lot of people were belligerent,” Donnenfield said.

Another issue, according to some, was that the university limited graduates to seven tickets for friends and family because of the increase of graduates per ceremony. Several people were caught entering unauthorized and un-scanned, taking the seating for those with tickets, according to university officials.

Cal Poly says its goal was to improve graduation ceremonies.

“The university made this change in an attempt to help keep graduates and attendees out of the midday sun and create for a more pleasant experience for all participants,” university officials told KSBY News.

Some say the sun was the least of their issues but one graduate believes there are solutions.

“I think if they cut down into colleges and over a larger span of days it would make the ceremony much more enjoyable for not just for the students but for everyone else attending,” said graduate Caitlin Scott.

It’s clear to the university that changes need to be made going forward and Cal Poly plans on looking at recent ceremonies to see where they can improve.

More than 5,100 students were eligible to graduate and more than 40,000 visitors were expected to attend commencement ceremonies.


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