After reading the Point/Counterpoint articles in the April 5 edition, not only did I feel the true spirit of informed discussion was being disregarded, but also that the reasoning behind Urgo’s change to the walking order at graduation was not addressed.
From what I have been told, Urgo’s reasoning for changing the long-standing tradition of walking with majors is that we, as graduates of St. Mary’s, have been a part of a liberal arts experience.
This experience is ostensibly defined not by one’s major, but by the broader knowledge gained from familiarity with a wide range of subjects.
Additionally, as noted in the Point/Counterpoint article by Steve Rees, Urgo’s decision was also based on his observations of campus life at St. Mary’s, where students freely mingle between majors in groups of friends based on common interests rather than academic schedules.
While I feel this side of the debate is reasonable, I personally do not agree with it. Although my major may not matter in twenty years, I currently spend hours, days, even weeks, of my life completing theses and other class requirements for my major.
Graduating is not about receiving a diploma and moving on, but about being recognized for achieving excellence in an area of study.
As liberal arts students, we must complete math, science, art, and other requirements, but it is in our major that we express our personal interests and passions.
Unlike News co-editor Amanda Zelaya, I do not believe this issue is just about whom you will sit next to on graduation day.
Rather, graduation represents the final opportunity to celebrate and remember the accomplishments of the past four years.
Who better to do this with than someone who has shared your experiences? Walking and sitting with a fellow major upholds the bonds of community that Urgo is rightfully concerned with.
This issue of community brings me to my biggest concern with the article by Zelaya intended to defend the change to walking order. Although the Chik-fil-A debate is mentioned in the article, it seems the author has missed the biggest issue the debate has stirred on campus—the issue of civility.
In order to have a productive debate, both sides must recognize the validity of the other, even if they do not agree with it.
By labeling the debate surrounding the graduation debate as laughable, or as a distraction from “more important things, like homework,” the spirit of discussion fostered by the Point/Counterpoint section of our school paper is undermined.
I think that we, as a community, can have a mature discussion about the issues at hand and come to a mutually beneficial conclusion without resorting to mean-spiritedness or incivility.
As May 14 nears, this topic becomes increasingly pressing for those who will be walking this year.
Although disappointed by some members of our community, I still feel a courteous, informed debate will help us reach a conclusion favorable to all.