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Monday, October 20, 2014

UC Hastings Students Protest Proposed Graduation Date

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Frank Wu, the maverick dean of UC Hastings. - MIKE KOOZMIN
  • Mike Koozmin
  • Frank Wu, the maverick dean of UC Hastings.
If there's one thing that UC Hastings students have garnered from their $150,000 law school education, it's a knack for arguing.

The have the best comment wars on Facebook, third-year student Clifton Smoot said in an August interview with the Weekly. "They love criticizing each other, the administration, the professors, whatever," he adds. Moreover, they love arguing for the sake of arguing.*

And evidently, they've found a new cause.

Hastings' administration recently proposed to hold next year's commencement ceremony on Monday, May 11, rather than on a Saturday, as has been the school's custom. The idea rankled students whose parents live out of town and cannot afford to take the Monday holiday, and struck some of them as yet another sign that the famously civic-minded institution is no longer a people's school.

So, they did what any aggrieved group would do in this situation: They drafted a petition.

"We've each paid almost $150,000 dollars in tuition over the three years I've been here and you're telling us it's cheaper to have graduation on a Monday? Seriously?!?!" a signator named Kristy Brady balked in the petition's comments section. "Give us all a reimbursement of $5K in tuition then we can have it on a Monday," she added.

"We've worked and paid dearly for this," Clifton Smoot wrote.

"What Cliff said," signator John Fitzpatrick chimed in.

Hastings spokesman Alex Shapiro pointed out that no date has been set for the ceremony, and that the administration isn't trying to push any particular day on anyone. "We're in this together," he said. "This particular feedback will be weighed heavily.

He added that of the 70 signatures collected thus far, many, if not most, are from sympathizers who aren't graduating this year.

*Clarification: Smoot's quote does not refer to the graduation debate specifically, but rather to UC Hastings in general.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

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