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University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

Cal State LA students to graduate at convention center, not in parking lot

ASI President confirms graduation location with the UT
Cal+State+LA+students+will+graduate+at+the+convention+center+in+spring+2024.+Photo+courtesy+of+the+Los+Angeles+Convention+Center.+
Cal State LA students will graduate at the convention center in spring 2024. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Rumors about the location of the spring 2024 commencement ceremony have been swirling around Cal State LA’s campus. It looks like the rumors are true.

 

Associated Students Incorporation (ASI) President Yahir Flores spoke with the University Times (UT) on Friday, and confirmed that this year’s ceremony will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. 

 

Flores recounted how he has been advocating for an off-campus graduation commencement since the beginning of his term in June 2023. When he first met with Interim President Leroy Morishita last semester, Flores first asked about students’ concerns regarding their commencement ceremony. Flores said that he understood there was a need for a “memorable and adequate ceremony” among students. 

 

“When I decided to run, I made sure that was going to be my top priority and doing the best that I could to secure a change and to advocate [to make sure] that the student perspective would be present in that decision-making process,” Flores said. 

 

There was some pushback from other university officials regarding moving the ceremony off-campus, according to the ASI president. He said Morishita was “very adamant” about having the event on-campus, citing that Former President William Covino said an on-campus graduation was more accessible to students and their families, because it was located next to the parking structure.

 

Flores said he persisted and participated in a lot of back and forth, while taking the former university presidents’ perspectives into consideration and listening to the reasoning behind their reluctance to move the venue. While the final decision was made behind closed doors without input from Flores, he said he never let them avoid the topic of commencement during their conversations. 

 

He added that the university explored other venue options, such as Dodger Stadium and the Hollywood Bowl. 

 

It was not until Jan. 22 that Flores met with ASI Executive Director Barnaby Peake and Director of University Events and Protocol James Cuaresma who confirmed the venue for this year’s commencement ceremony, along with other “sensitive” details.  

 

The decision to move graduation off-campus reflects the wishes of former graduating Golden Eagles. In 2022, the university’s commencement ceremony was held in parking “Lot 5” on-campus, which left some students feeling “disrespected” and “disappointed,” according to an article by the UT. Last year, the main graduation also took place in the lot, but students had the option to participate in alternative ceremonies hosted by the Cross Cultural Center (CCC), such as the Nuestra Grad, Black Grad and APIDA Grad.

 

Fifth-year student Gisselle Martinez is graduating this semester and heard the rumors from a friend. 

 

“I feel as though maybe they’re finally starting to listen to the students and their wishes,” Martinez said. “So, the fact that they’re finally starting to listen to students and hear our concerns and wants, it seems like we’re moving forward.” 

 

She had been “concerned” about the fact that Cal State LA was one of the few universities that held its graduation ceremonies on campus as opposed to a separate venue. 

 

The university appears to be following in similar footsteps as the other CSUs. Like last year, students from Cal State Long Beach will walk the stage at Angel Stadium for their commencement ceremony, according to the university’s website. 

 

Details about how commencement will proceed have yet to be confirmed.

 

Freshman Jibsam Garcia has some time before he graduates, but heard the rumors about the location of the event. Garcia said that students spend a lot of money to attend school and graduate, so they deserve a nicer graduation venue than the campus.

 

“I think that graduating on-campus doesn’t make the ceremony feel as special. So, something being off-campus…it honors the students graduating more,” Garcia said. 

 

Flores said that the university will send out an official announcement about the graduation commencement location on Monday, Jan 29.

 

The UT reached out to Morishita for comment, but have not heard back yet. This story will be updated when/if our request for comment receives a response.

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Tristan Longwell, Digital Editor
Tristan Longwell is the Digital Editor for the University Times (UT). She is a senior majoring in criminal justice, with a minor in journalism. Longwell has an interest in documentary filmmaking, creative and uncreative writing, music, fashion, true crime and all things Los Angeles.
Victoria Ivie, Editor-in-Chief
Victoria Ivie (she/they) is a fourth-year journalism major. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the University Times and writes with a focus of undercovered communities/stories. They love to read and hope to write a book within the next five years as well as be working in a newsroom.  
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