Three months from now, Sacramento State graduates are expected to walk across a stage, but no one is certain where or when.
University officials are still negotiating a contract with Golden 1 Center and are not sure when it will be finalized, said university spokeswoman Elisa Smith.
The school has May 19 and 20 on hold, but Smith can’t say for certain that the dates won’t change. “We still have to keep our options open,” she said.
For now, the university website is noncommittal.
“The Spring 2017 Commencement schedule is currently under review. Please check back in March when the schedule is announced,” it states.
Some universities set commencement dates years in advance so families can plan travel. UC Davis, for instance, has scheduled its spring commencement ceremonies through 2020.
Francisco Medina, 23, says he was discouraged when he read the announcement on the website. He has 20 relatives – parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents – planning to come up from Los Angeles.
“I haven’t been able to give them a date or time, and a lot of them have to ask (for time off) two months in advance,” he said.
Medina’s parents decided to take time off based on the tentative May 19 or 20 graduation dates. “If it goes beyond that, they aren’t going to be able to make it,” he said.
He said many students are unaware that the graduation dates are still tentative. “No one knows it isn’t set in stone, and there is no set date,” he said.
California State University, Sacramento, held its last graduation at Sleep Train Arena in December, which was also the final public event held at the former home of the Sacramento Kings. The fees for its use were $59,842. It’s unclear how much Sacramento State would have to pay to use Golden 1 Center.
The school required graduation attendees to have tickets for the first time in December. The policy change was a response to an overcrowding problem at the prior commencement in May when family members were turned away from the College of Health and Human Services ceremony because Sleep Train Arena had filled to capacity.
Graduates had been allowed to invite as many guests as they wanted, and no tickets were required.
The university plans to continue issuing tickets to all future commencements, Smith said. The number will depend on the size of the graduating class and the capacity of the venue, but is likely to be limited to about 12 tickets per student, she said.
Medina said he’s been asking classmates to save their extra tickets for him so all of his relatives can attend. He’s still a little worried he won’t have enough.
Students who need more tickets can ask for more, Smith said. “We did that in fall and it went great, so we will be doing it again.”