Though they have finally got their diplomas, it must have been heart-wrenching to be deprived of something they have worked so hard for, for over four years, and especially when they were not directly involved in the occurrence. I believe it is entirely wrong to deprive graduates of their diploma, unless they did not work for it and did not deserve it, but also for three other important reasons:
1. Graduation day is a natural time of pride and joy. For many people, it is likely to be the time they remember with the greatest feeling of achievement, a day which officially starts them off on their career in life. A day which reinforces who they have become and their potential for greatness. There is nothing like getting that first degree which you have earned, despite all the obstacles, especially for students from less affluent and problematic families, for whom just sticking to that course would have been a Herculean task. There would be no feeling like getting that reward. Being cheered by your family on such a special day comes with the territory. It is natural to be enthusiastic, positive and proud. What is the whole point of families being there if they cannot react naturally to such a glorious moment? The fact that some families overdo the cheering and the hullabaloo cannot be used to punish everyone else. Furthermore, those who are hardly cheered are likely to feel undervalued or unpopular.
2. Such a punishment lends itself to being abused by others who might have malice against the recipient and could deprive them of their diploma. What is to stop anyone creating mischief for whomever they wish on that important occasion? With such a large crowd of people, how can anyone ever be absolutely certain where the excess cheers are coming from?
3. The legality of withholding a diploma for anything other than course-related incidents could be questionable. How can someone be prevented from graduating when they them self have not committed a misdemeanor and are not able to control other family members from the stage? Worse still, how can the graduate be expected to control any action by anyone else at that moment when he/she is concentrating on collecting their earned diploma?
The whole idea of punishing a student in such a heartless and draconian way, when there are many other ways that could have been used to deal with the miscreants on the day, suggests a lack of sensitivity for the graduates themselves and is very unfair in view of their efforts. Not only that, it spoils their day, big time. To have waited four years to be treated in this way is entirely unacceptable. The fact that it took a lawyer’s threat to get the college to give out the diplomas does not suggest an educational establishment one should really be proud of.