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Senior Week’ events not open to all seniors

Kelly Meehan | Tuesday, April 25, 2006

For most members of Notre Dame’s Class of 2006, Senior Week serves as a bittersweet conclusion to their four years at the University.

But last week some seniors – future fifth-year students with graduating fourth-year friends – discovered the tradition would not become a reality for them.

Senior architecture major Kate Donovan made this “disappointing discovery” last week when she had her student ID card swiped to receive Chicago Cubs tickets – one of Senior Week’s highlight events.

Donovan, like other senior architecture students, was told she was not eligible to participate in Senior Week since she will be a fifth-year student next year and not graduating this May.

“I was surprised more than anything,” she said upon receiving news that she would have to wait until the Senior Week of the Class of 2007.

Donovan and fellow senior architecture major Sonia Garcia said they were disappointed they cannot participate because many of their friends are members of the Class of 2006.

“I feel left out,” Garcia said. “I think it is kind of ridiculous that we cannot celebrate our friends’ graduation with them. To not be able to see everyone off makes me sad, really.”

Class of 2006 Vice President Anna Skoien said she hopes seniors who will return to the University for a fifth year of studies understand University policy prohibits students not graduating this year from partaking in events.

Skoien said she was informed of this policy about one week ago by Senior Class Council faculty advisor Amy Geist.

Skoien was unaware of when this policy was created and said she did not “think [the Class Council] considered changing it.”

“This is the policy that was presented to me, and I thought that was an assumed thing … architects participate in a fifth year, and we believed they must have already been told this,” she said.

Assistant Director of Student Activities Ryan Willerton said Class Council members are primarily responsible for the planning of events and that all policies “may be stated on the class Web site.”

Willerton also said all concerns should be addressed to the Class Council.

Senior Class Council members have discussed the issue, but Skoien said the policy “is not anything we as students are enforcing … Regardless of if [a student] entered as the Class of 2006, the University’s policy is if [a student] does not graduate in May they cannot participate in Senior Week.”

Skoien said she does not want ineligible seniors to think the council is “trying to spite them in any way.”

“I know some architects are upset, but I don’t think that this is something Senior Class Council wants them to feel negative about,” she said. “To me University policy is something most people are aware of.”

But for seniors like Donovan and Garcia, not being able to participate in the week’s events leaves them feeling robbed of final memories with fellow seniors.

“It seems unfair because we are part of the Class of 2006,” Donovan said. “These are all the kids I have shared my ND experience with and who I would want to spend my Senior Week with.”