CSUSB has joined other college campuses in adding graduation ceremonies that celebrate varying ethnicity.
This adds a unique twist to every ceremony and allows each individual culture to express themselves and celebrate according to their own unique backgrounds.
Aunjolay Lambert is a African American student who is participating in “Black Grad.”
She said, “It is an honor to have a separate ceremony devoted to my culture. As an African American women, I don’t get singled out for my accomplishments very often.”
Currently, CSUSB has three separate graduation ceremonies: African American, Latino, and the traditional ceremony where all students are highlighted without any ethnic flare.
Doreen Hatcher, who helps to coordinate these ceremonies said that they are mostly culturally oriented.
Although these ceremonies are open to any student who wishes to participate, they are mainly tools for recognizing the accomplishments of minority groups that have lower graduation rates then normal, according to Hatcher.
For example, the average four year graduation rate for all first time freshman is 9.4 percent while the averages for African America first time freshman is 3.5 and Hispanic 6.5 according to CSUSB’s Office of Institutional Research.
The separate graduations were designed for celebrating students overcoming stereotypes of a culture and attempting to increase their graduate percentage in the process.
The separate ceremonies allow for the addition of songs and languages. Things like African drums and Latin American music are custom designed to highlight student’s culture.
Student Daniel Bercerra said, “I will not be participating but I appreciate the choice […] I have seen people participate before and its a great thing.”
Other students believe that these ceremonies proliferate what is left of racism in our generation.
An anonymous student said “I low-key feel like its racist, I want people to feel proud, but these ceremonies are taking things too far.”
Racism is generally understood as demeaning other races and I believe these ceremonies life up those being honored and their inclusive factor in no way bash on the other races.
Others believe that its perfectly fine because it is optional.
“I just like that its open to everyone,” said student Mayra Vega.
They are celebrating groups that have long been ignored in America because of there status and celebrating their rise in society.
Student Tasi Hogan said, “I completely understand the historical significance of a minority group celebrating. In my lifetime alone I have seen these groups being able to obtain an education and this is valuable in the sense that they are celebrating moving forward.”
There is no limitation to the number of tickets available for the separate ceremonies which allows plenty of attendees to come and celebrate their accomplishments.
“The unlimited attendee [aspect] is a great quality because I know I have so many relatives, I just wish they had it for all cultures on campus,” said student Melina Rodriguez.
As the university makes progress I can only hope that more of these cultural based celebrations are added and these opportunities are expanded to all groups on campus.