URI Graduation QUA(n)D(ary)
My high school graduation was inside a hockey rink.
Yeah. Let that sink in.
Take away the ice and the building looked like a tin airplane hanger. Truly, there was nothing pretty about it.
Oddly enough, it was a fairly fitting send-off for me, to leave a town that I always felt was much more concerned with sports than academics. Even with my advanced P90X2 skills, I still don't fit in there.
Fast forward four years and I graduated again. This time from the University of Rhode Island, Kingston. Things went a bit better here. The ceremony was held on the town green of the campus, a beautiful space lined with historic buildings, otherwise known as the Quad.
In so many ways, the Quad IS URI.
If you're lucky, you pass through it daily, dodging games of extreme frisbee on your way to class, working hard towards that moment where, as literally generations have before, you'll receive your diploma during a spectacular send-off.
So, it saddens me to find out that graduation this year has been moved inside, to the generic Ryan Center. Sure, it's a world class facility. For concerts. And home shows. And basketball games.
Why the change? About ten days before the Boston Marathon bombing, the rural URI campus went on lockdown, because of reports of an alleged gunman on campus. The only thing confirmed in the end was how quickly mass hysteria spreads.
Mix in the actual attack on Boston, and the fact that the deceased bomber's widow lives a few miles away, and President Dooley and the URI Administration are clearly on edge.
To them, I ask, as a proud alumni of the school: Do you want your final lesson to your students to be one of fear?
I feel for you URI Class of 2013. I think that college, and the knowledge gained from it, should make you less afraid, not more. I know that's how it worked for me.
And I think you should have your day, literally in the sun.
Please sign this petition if you agree.