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Senate to Vote this Wed on fixing graduation

Last updated on 03/15/2023

Update: This motion passed, I think unanimously.

Dear Senators – 

Last week I added a section to the motion (new 2.3) requiring that the new Graduation Task Force called for in the motion make its meetings and materials public, in response to concerns that the secret process used so far had led us to the current bad result. The amended text etc. is at

Also, I googled around and found that many (most? All but us?) university/faculty senate’s have to vote to approve the Academic Calendar. To cite one now rather relevant example, here’s UW-Madison: and Note that the calendar their Senate votes on includes the date for Commencement.

Last, I still have not received the contracts for the conflicting track meets that I asked AD Rob Mullens for on Feb 22nd. He has forwarded my request to our General Counsel Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office, which is sitting on it. These contracts should show how much the Athletics Department is earning from these conflicting events and what constraints they might place on scheduling graduation. If I get them in time I’ll pass them on.

I look forward to the discussion and vote on this motion tomorrow. Let me know if you have any questions.

Bill Harbaugh

Econ Prof, UO

Senate Legislation: Concerning the Timing and Manner of Graduation Ceremonies

Section I

1.1 WHEREAS the University of Oregon’s graduation ceremonies are held for the recognition and honoring of our students’ academic experience’s at our University; and

1.2 WHEREAS; For many years UO’s graduation ceremonies were held on the weekend immediately following finals week, as is academically appropriate, but in 2010 the University Administration moved graduation to the Monday after the completion of finals week to avoid conflict with the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships; and

1.3 WHEREAS this year a conflict with another sporting event, the Nike Outdoor Nationals, and then the Juneteenth Holiday have pushed graduation until Tuesday of the week after finals; and

1.4 WHEREAS; the weekend immediately after finals finish on Friday is a convenient time for our students and their celebrating families, particularly those with inflexible work schedules, to travel to Eugene; and

1.5 WHEREAS; for many years UO has emphasized its department, school, or college level graduation ceremonies, where students can graduate with friends from their majors, and where families can meet department faculty and staff, while this year the University is shifting the emphasis of graduation to a University-wide ceremony held in the football stadium, which will reduce opportunities for such interactions.

Section II

2.1 THEREFORE BE IT MOVED that it is the sense of the Senate that graduation should be held on the weekend immediately following finals week, and that the University should prioritize department, school, and college level ceremonies; and 

2.2 THEREFORE BE IT FURTHERMORE MOVED that the Senate leadership shall work with the university administration to form a Graduation Task Force with the participation of faculty, students, staff, and OAs, to work to improve graduation ceremonies, and that the Senate President shall appoint those members of this Task Force from Senate constituencies; and

2.3 THEREFORE BE IT FURTHERMORE MOVED that the work of this Graduation Task Force shall be public, with meeting times and Zoom links as well as agendas and documents posted on the Senate website; and

2.4 THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY MOVED that the Graduation Task Force shall bring its recommendations to the Senate for a vote, before the end of the 2022-23 Academic Year.

One Comment

  1. Fishwrapper 03/15/2023

    I mean, that’s the whole point, the raison d’etre behind this whole enterprise, right? What more appropriate way to celebrate the conclusion of a year as represented by finals week – nay, the conclusion of a journey, the culmination of years of hard work and rigorous effort…than sitting in the stands watching track and field events. Come one, folks, let’s keep the priorities straight. After all, it’s called Tracktown, not U-Town! (Although U-gene does come close.)

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