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A dearth of graduation tickets frustrates students

As the end of the spring semester nears, the class of 2018 is in preparation for graduation. The commencement ceremony will take place on May 24 in the brand new UMBC Event Center. For many, graduating college is seen as a milestone in one’s life, a moment to be shared with as many loved ones as possible. Unfortunately, this is made difficult as UMBC is only offering four tickets per student.

The myUMBC webpage is flooded with requests from students for more tickets, with some even willing to pay for up to seven extra tickets. Although graduation is months away, many students have already starting bribing their fellow graduates for tickets because they are unable to get enough for their family. There are some cases of international students who have several family members flying in from all corners of the world in order to witness this amazing achievement, only to be disappointed that they are not able to attend the ceremony.

UMBC does not compensate for those who have bigger families or ask students how many tickets they need. Some students have smaller families and others may have no one coming to their graduation. In cases like these, tickets go to waste if they are not given away. 

Celiat Sobesan, a senior biology major, explains, “it’s unfair because it doesn’t take into account special circumstances like being the first generation graduate. That’s a big accomplishment that a lot of people would want to celebrate, but only providing four tickets will not be sufficient enough for a family such as that.”

The amount of tickets given to students has been an issue for years, and many thought that, with the construction of the UMBC Event Center, students would be granted more tickets. The Event Center is equipped with approximately 5,000 seats, while the former venue for graduation (winter commencement) the RAC, had approximately 4,000.

In past years, UMBC has used the Royal Farms Arena for spring commencement, which is a much larger venue with more than double the number of seats as the Event Center. It is assumed that UMBC is using the Event Center for convenience and due to cost compared to Royal Farms Arena.

Despite having a larger venue, UMBC continues to offer students four tickets for graduation. “I think if there was a breakdown as to how they reached the four ticket max number then maybe it will put many of us graduates (and our families) at ease,” Arnita Heathington, a senior media and communications and anthropology double major, says. “But, we have so many questions which is why it’s so difficult to understand,” Heathington continues.

UMBC holds two separate commencement ceremonies: one for the College of Natural and  Mathematical Sciences, the College of Engineering and Information Technology, and Interdisciplinary Studies, and one for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, the School of Social Work, and Erickson School. Since the ceremonies will be split between the two venues, allowing more seating, many students believe they should be granted more tickets to utilize the space with their families.