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Why No Diplomas? Wanna Know?

A graduating ‘16 sent a note to President Hanlon on Monday:

Dear President Hanlon,

I was wondering why my fellow classmates and I will not be receiving our diplomas on stage at graduation, and if there is anything that can be done to change this decision in order to maintain a long-standing Dartmouth tradition. There has been a great deal of disappointment among members of the Class of 2016 in regards to this unannounced change.

Please get back to me,

Phil (or someone in his office) responded the next day:

Dear _____,

We made the decision primarily to safeguard the diplomas from weather, getting crumpled on seats or otherwise damaged during the ceremony — a frequent occurrence.

This is not the first year diplomas haven’t been handed out during commencement — it’s not actually an unbroken tradition.

I’m sorry you’re disappointed but I guarantee you it will still be a great day — and your diploma will remain safe to remind you of the occasion for years to come.


Nope. Not even close, Phil. Fibber.

Sources from inside the administration tell me that the real reason diplomas will not be handed out is that students who have not finished all of their requirements, to their public shame, receive only a white sheet of paper — and this group of blank paperpushers is disproportionately populated by underrepresented minorities.

Quel embarras for the College. Embarrassing on two counts. Firstly, because all of the deans and administrators and support staff who the College pays to assist people of color are spending more time filling students’ heads with nonsense about safe spaces, microagressions, oppression and such, and not nearly enough time providing academic support so that students can pass their classes. And secondly, because in this era of rampant grade inflation, Dartmouth is accepting a great many students who are nonetheless unprepared to do passing-level work at an Ivy League level.

Since when does the embarrassent of the minority drive decisions at the College? Actually, there is no need to answer that rhetorical question. It’s been a long time. That said, shouldn’t people learn at some point in their lives to accept the consequences of their actions. If you don’t have enough credits; you don’t get a piece of parchment with printing on it. Whose fault is that?

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Just got back from one of McGill’s fourteen convocations (our “graduation”; two two-hour ceremonies over seven days) at which 7,700+ degrees will have been awarded. Interesting that the very first honorees in Arts were two young faculty members, one (Religious Studies) for excellence in teaching (btw, has only been at McGill 2.5 years) and one (Linguistics) for excellence in research (this professor also is known “on the street” as an excellent counselor and advisor whose door is always open to students).

A fair amount of time and no small amount of importance was lent to emphasizing and honoring the faculty. Regarding the graduates, while the physical diplomas are indeed picked up later, nonetheless each of the recipients is personally “tapped” (for bachelors; akin to knighting, but on the mortarboard) or “capped” (masters and doctors) and congratulated by either the Principal (President) or Chancellor of McGill. Personally. 7,700+. Jez sayin’.


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