Rain or shine, Kansas University's 1991 graduates will get a commencement ceremony.
After getting complaints about plans to cancel commencement if foul weather meant the ceremonies couldn't be held in Memorial Stadium, a new strategy was devised and has been approved by Chancellor Gene Budig.
Amid mounting criticism from students, parents and faculty members, KU's commencement committee went back to the drawing board and decided Tuesday that KU would hold a series of commencement ceremonies if rain forces KU's 119th commencement ceremony out of Memorial Stadium.
JIM SCALLY, assistant to the chancellor and coordinator of commencement, today said that if it rains May 19, commencement ceremonies would be moved to Allen Fieldhouse, Hoch Auditorium and Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall. The Allen Fieldhouse ceremony would begin at 5 p.m., the Hoch Auditorium ceremony at 6 p.m. and the Crafton-Preyer ceremony at 7 p.m. Graduates from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences would go to the fieldhouse, but officials haven't announced how other schools will be split among the three locations.
If it is raining at 1 p.m., commencement ceremonies will be delayed. If skies are clear by 4 p.m., ceremonies will go ahead as planned at Memorial Stadium. If there is still inclement weather, ceremonies will move to the three alternative sites.
According to the National Weather Service, there is a 35 percent chance of rain on any given day in May.
SCALLY SAID that the commencement committee met for about an hour and a half Tuesday to develop the alternative plan.
Students who met today for what was planned to be protest of the commencement policy said they were pleased with the alternative plans presented by KU officials.
"There's nothing to protest now. We're just here, because we said we'd be here," said William Bayne, a Lawrence senior who was one of about 10 people who gathered at Strong Hall, where the protest had been scheduled to begin at noon.
Bayne, who had helped organize the protest, said he thought the university had responded well to the students' concerns and that future KU classes would benefit from the action taken by this year's graduates.
DEL SHANKEL, executive vice chancellor, said today that he was pleased with the alternative plan.
"I think they've come up with a pretty good plan," he said. "There's no ideal solution if there's rain pouring down. But I think this is the most feasible plan we could develop, and I think it will work."
Shankel said he thought postponing ceremonies until May 20 was not a viable solution because out-of-town guests would have to rearrange their travel plans.