U. Texas at Austin Stops Funding Cultural Graduation Ceremonies

2024-01-31 07:00:25

Some students at the school are apparently upset about this news.

UT announces it will no longer fund cultural graduation ceremonies

The University will no longer fund cultural graduation ceremonies, according to an email sent on Tuesday by Brandelyn Flunder, director of the Center for Leadership and Learning.

The Multicultural Engagement Center, which closed earlier this month to comply with Senate Bill 17, previously put on Black Graduation, Latinx Graduation and GraduAsian. The MEC’s closure will also impact welcome programs including the CultivAsian, Bloq Party, New Black Student Weekend, Adelante, Four Directions, and Leadership Institutes. Flunder said in a second email on Tuesday that the MEC is “working diligently to find an alternative home” for the graduations.

“Because you have been able to come into the space and see many of the staff, I understand that it likely feels that we are operating at status quo, but please make no mistake, while our doors remain open (for now, at least), our programs do not,” Flunder said in the first email.

The University did not provide additional comment by the time of publication.

Government sophomore Erin McCormick said she’s always tried to connect with people who looked like her, being one of few Black people in her area. When she transferred to UT-Austin, McCormick said she looked forward to Black Graduation.

“Of course, everyone would attend regular graduation, but Black Graduation elevates the accomplishment that much more, given the history of the University and Texas in general,” McCormick said.

Public relations sophomore Vashéd Thompson said Black Graduation was a reason she chose to attend the University. She said even if students decided to put on the graduations, the lack of University recognition would make the events seem less “official.”

“That’s already disheartening when you’re not feeling supported by the university that you go to, when you’re not feeling congratulated and like they’re proud of you, when you spend four years and thousands and thousands of dollars to attend the school,” Thompson said. “(It) feels like a stab in the back.”

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