Earlier this year, Chancellor Robert C. Dynes decided to discontinue the all-campus commencement ceremony offered since 1997 to UCSD graduates. The first two years of the all-campus commencement were wild successes – then-President Bill Clinton spoke at the first one, and then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich spoke at the next one.

The problems the commencement committees faced the next two years are well-known: Since Gingrich spoke, the process by which the speakers were found has been mired by cancellations and lackluster interest. The last two years’ speakers have been San Diego tech-mogul Irwin Jacobs and inspirational speaker Patch Adams, who was made famous by a biographical Robin Williams movie.

Though the ceremony has not attracted speakers of the same caliber as the first two, we at the Guardian think the ceremony should have been kept and made permanent. In his announcement Dynes stated that the separate ceremonies at the individual colleges are intended to allow new UCSD graduates to “”celebrate with their classmates and loved ones.”” However, these ceremonies exclude about five-sixths of our classmates.

In a time of explosive enrollment increases at UCSD, the five colleges are no longer the tight-knit communities they once may have been. Lower-classmen are often housed at colleges other than their own, and now second-year students are not even guaranteed on-campus housing. Each year, the campus is becoming more and more a single community. This is not necessarily problematic, but it is a shame that commencement will no longer represent this aspect of UCSD.

Virtually all students have friends outside their colleges, and some may even dislike the nature of their own college’s ceremony. For example, Thurgood Marshall College allows students to bring their parents across the stage with them. This can present problems for students, perhaps making them feel obliged to bring their parents to the stage with them, or for students who have nontraditional nuclear families or separated parents. To some, the small nature of their college’s ceremony may seem just that — small. A traditional all-campus ceremony provides all graduates with an alternative.

There are so many ways that we as students come in contact with each other besides at our colleges. We make friends in our classes, student organizations, churches, sports teams — in countless ways.

It is a shame that some have placed the importance of the commencement speaker before the importance of students who wish to graduate with their classmates of choice. The Guardian urges Chancellor Dynes to reconsider his decision to cancel this valuable opportunity for us to share our graduation experience with all of our fellow classmates. We hope that at the very least, the money and resources that would have gone to the all-campus commencement ceremony will be given to the individual colleges so that their ceremonies will not seem so, well, small.