**Correction: Information from the faculty senate resolution was incorrectly attributed to an email written to Dr. Stephen Roberds.
The quote was “The Faculty Senate requests that the Pledge of Allegiance be removed from the activities for the Spring of 2012 Commencement ceremony and all subsequent Commencement ceremonies due to the ethical, religious, and legal reason, out of the consideration for our diverse campus community. The attached letters from three faculty members discuss these reasons at length. “
The Paw Print
Many of us grew up reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and some heard a teacher tell us “if you choose not to say the pledge you may sit down quietly until we’re finished.” Now that we’ve grown up, and understand the meaning behind the pledge and how much it could offend a person, is saying it during a college graduation ceremony appropriate?
During the December 2011 graduation ceremony Adams State chose to Pledge Allegiance during the commencement. Adams State is a diverse college, with student attending from all over the world.
Campus wide, professors have made a point to make noise about this action during graduation, writing to President Svaldi in regards to their opinions about the issues the pledge of allegiance would create during a time that was meant for students, faculty, family and friends.
Dr. Roberds, professor in Political Science, has made a point to bring up this issue in his classes, trying to get students to stand up for their rights. He wrote Dr. Svaldi to explain why he believes reciting the pledge during graduation is wrong with ethical and legal reasons. He has decided not to attend the graduation of students in his courses, or those he has advised.
Students also had comments on the issue of having the pledge of allegiance during graduation, with one student saying “it was inappropriate and I wouldn’t want to pledge my allegiance to a country I’m not proud to be part of right now.”
Dr. Brent King of Psychology mentions that in the 12 college graduation that’s he has attended, not one of those had the pledge of allegiance. King gave Svaldi a letter explaining why he felt it was inappropriate to have something that was not only against his beliefs, but has caused him to defend himself with verbal and physical altercations. King mentioned that he has not joined in reciting the pledge for over 26 years and doesn’t plan on changing his beliefs and practices now. Going over his choices in the matter he came to the conclusion that not attending graduation would be the best response to a decision that was made for the college.
Many feel that adding the pledge to graduation is an odd decision and they do not understand why it was made. Some students wanted to take this issue to Senate, but were pushed back until the meeting on April 9.
In an email response to Roberds, Svaldi wrote, “The Faculty Senate requests that the Pledge of Allegiance be removed from the activities for the Spring of 2012 Commencement ceremony and all subsequent Commencement ceremonies due to the ethical, religious, and legal reason, out of the consideration for our diverse campus community. The attached letters from three faculty members discuss these reasons at length. “
For religious, ethical, and legal reasons, this gave students and faculty a reason to stand up and say, no we don’t want to be a part of this, we don’t want people to feel unwelcome or left out, and we will not have the pledge of allegiance during our graduation.
Commencement Committee Chair Dr. Paul Newman confirmed that the pledge will not be recited at the ceremony because of legal reasons.