In a statement responding to Monday’s announcement that GS Class Day would be moved a day forward, prominent campus figures joined members of GSSC, CCSC, ESC, SGA and the Senate to call for a formal apology from President Bollinger. The statement praises the announced Travel Fund, but demands an extra ceremony on the original day in a different location. You can find the full letter and names of the student signees after the jump.

Feel free to add your signature in the comments.

Update 7:55 pm: You can also sign this petition.

Standing Together with the School of General Studies

April 25, 2012

The sudden and unexpected rescheduling of the School of General Studies Class Day has placed undue financial and emotional burdens upon the students of General Studies and their families. We are heartened by the creation of a GS Class Day Travel Fund and hope that the administration will work to accommodate as many people as possible so that they are able to take part in the celebration of the amazing accomplishments of the graduating seniors in GS.

We are disappointed with the manner in which this change has been communicated to the GS student body. President Bollinger’s e-mail did not acknowledge the enormous emotional and financial burdens the move of GS Class Day places on the families and friends of GS seniors.  We request a formal apology to those students and their families that have been affected by the move. We also wish to see the creation of a smaller event during the originally scheduled Class Day ceremony, in an alternative location, to accommodate those individuals who cannot change their plans or wish to attend in addition to Class Day. This event should be paid for in full by the Columbia and Barnard administrations as a gesture of goodwill and understanding to recognize both the achievements of the graduating GS seniors and the support and sacrifices made by them and their loved ones.

Additionally, we are saddened by the conflict between the new GS Class Day time and the undergraduate Baccalaureate Service. The Baccalaureate Service is the only graduation event that brings together graduating seniors from the four undergraduate schools in an intimate setting to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and our passage together through Columbia. This is to be the first year in which all four undergraduate schools will have seniors speaking at the event, and we are hopeful that any GS students who would like to attend will be accommodated. Those who cannot attend will be deeply missed by their Barnard, Columbia College, and Engineering classmates.

Columbia is a unique and challenging experience for each and every individual who ventures through the Columbia gates, regardless of which school he or she attends. Graduation is a celebration of the culmination of the years of hard work invested to satisfy the requirements of a Columbia University degree. This would not be possible without the immense support of family and friends, the very individuals who wish to be present at Class Day. Every graduating individual deserves the right to be able to celebrate with those individuals in their life who have made this accomplishment possible.

Representatives and members from all of the undergraduate schools stand in solidarity with graduating seniors of the School of General Studies. Though there are four separate undergraduate schools, we stand as one undergraduate student body – celebrating the experiences and perspectives that every group and individuals add to this community. We wish to move past the animosity that has been presented toward various groups and remind students that we are here to support each other and wish that every member of our community feel included and welcomed.

Logan Donovan, ESC VP Policy, 2011-2012, Author
Barry Weinberg, Student Governing Board Chair, 2011-2012, Author
Aki Terasaki, CC’12, CCSC President, 2011-2012
Karishma Habbu, CC’13, CCSC President, 2012-2013
Will Hughes, CCSC VP Policy, 2012-2013
Yanyi Luo, CCSC VP Campus Life, 2012-2013
Jared Odessky CC’15, CCSC 2015 President 2011-2012, VP Communications 2012-2013
Kenneth Durell, University Senator (2010-2012), CC ‘12
Ryan Cho, CC’13, Vice President Policy 2011-2012, President, Multicultural Greek Council
Nate Levick, ESC President, 2011-2012
Tim Qin, ESC President, 2012-2013
Akshay Shah, University Senator, SEAS 2012-2014
Jim Huang, ESC VP Communications, 2011-2012
Siddhant Bhatt, ESC VP Finance, 2012-2013
Bora Kim, ESC VP Policy, 2012-2013
Mary Byers, ESC 2013 Class President, 2009-2013
Daniel O’Leary, ESC 2014 Class President, 2012-2013
Jessica Blank, BC ‘12 SGA President 2011-2012
JungHee Hyun Barnard ‘13, SGA President 2012-2013
Naomi Cooper, SGA VP Finance 2011-2012
Sarah Steinmann, SGA VP Communications 2011-12, SGA VP Student Activities 2012-13
Julia Kennedy, BC ‘13, SGA VP for Student Government 2012-2013
Mara Wood, SGA VP Finance 2012-2013
Rachel Ferrari ‘13, SGA Vice President 2011-2012
Stephanie Fernandez BC ‘14, SGA Communications 2012-2013
Malvina Kefalas, BC ‘14, SGA Representative for Academic Affairs 2011-2012, VP
Jacqueline Thong, GSSC Student Body President, 2010-2012
Jennifer Wisdom, GSSC Student Body President Elect, 2012-2013
Jose Robledo, University Senator, GS 2009-2012
Kyle Riggle, GS’12, GSSC Senior Class VP, 2011-2012
Scott Bacon, GS ‘13, GSSC VP Student Events, 2011-2012
Leah Greenbaum, CC ’12, Spectator News Editor, 2011
David Fine, Student Governing Board Chair, 2012-2013
Maryam Aziz, CC’13, Student Governing Board Vice-Chair, 2012-2013
Daniel Bonner, 2012 Hillel President, SGB Vice Chair 2011-2012
Arvin Ahmadi, CC’14, Ivy Council VP Internal, 2012-2013
Ben Totushek, GS 2008-2011, SIPA 2011-2012
Aly Jiwani, University Senator, SIPA 2012-2013
Scott Saverance, University Senator, SIPA 2010-2011
Robert Wintersteen, GS’12
Wilfred Chan, CC’13, Student Wellness Project
Margo Kulkarni, SEAS ‘12
Learned Foote, CC’11
Ryan Mandelbaum, CC ’13
Katie Johnson, GS ‘11
Iban Goicoechea, GS ‘15
Dominique Mosbergen, CC ‘11
Katharine Celentano, GS ‘14
Jia Ahmad, CC ‘11
Daniel Lagana GS ‘13

Signee list was updated at 2:28 pm, April 25th.