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Students start online petition against the pushback of UMass’ commencement weekend

Students start online petition against the pushback of UMass' commencement weekend
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 6:37 PM EDT
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AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -The University of Massachusetts Amherst has recently announced an academic schedule change for the 2022-2023 school year. The change would push back the university’s commencement weekend two weeks later than normal. But, some students have started an online petition against it.

“Once the schedule change came out, iI was talking to my friends, we were all really upset about it wondering what we’re going to do because our lease ends the day of graduation now, I was so upset so I started to take action,” said UMass junior Hailey Roseman.

Roseman is a junior at UMass-Amherst advocating for change. She started a petition against the school’s recent decision to make winter break six weeks long rather than 3.5 weeks, which would then move the 2023 graduation date two weeks later than its typical date.

“I wrote that petition which is essentially a letter to UMass admin. But the main reason that I wrote it is because of the major problems it causes with graduation being on or after when most people’s leases end...It’s a lot of added stress unnecessary stress to students because the last day of final exams is the day before graduation, the 25th, and then so you have to move out on the 25th,” explained Roseman.

UMass-Amherst students weighed in on the school’s decision to change the 2022 - 2023 academic calendar.

“As someone that does do internships over the summer and is working over the summer, that is kind of annoying because you get less time,” said Sarah Akbar, a first-year grad student at UMass.

“I think it’s a very good decision, because for me especially fall and spring semesters are very long, and I think when we get more time for winter break maybe this will give more students to choose classes that are during winter break,” said UMass freshman Karolos Iprahir.

Western Mass News reached out to UMass Amherst officials to find out why the change was made. They told us in a statement in part-quote:

“The decision was made to academically benefit UMass students in a variety of ways and was announced one year in advance to provide time for future planning.The change was studied and adopted by the Faculty Senate. The Senate, drawing on data and input from students and other members of the campus community, concluded that the new, longer Winter Session will enable students to take for-credit courses outside of the traditional Fall and Spring semesters.”

Students we spoke to said that they think that the University did not focus on the school’s population as a whole when making the new decision.

‘I think you have to look at the population of students that take winter classes versus students that are in the entire school as a whole. I don’t know if it makes sense affecting everyone for a small subset,” said Akbar.

“They keep saying they have taken into account students’ opinions and gotten our input but from everyone I’ve talked to, not once did they ask for our input about extending winter break and pushing commencement back,” said Roseman.