As a recent college graduate, I can certainly say that I have experienced this first hand on the day of my graduation. However, the unruly behavior on the day of my graduation, while distracting and slightly interruptive, it was not in any severe form, nor was action taken towards students or family members because of this behavior.
Graduation is a massive event in anyone’s life, and it is a day to make our family proud. We want to remember that day as being a significant milestone in our lives, and we want to know that our family are proud of us. It is flattering to have your family cheer when your name is called out, however it is not courteous to other students. For example, say that your name is called out and your family shout out, wolf whistle and cheer. It makes you feel pretty good about yourself, but it will only bother the family of the next person, because their child’s name is blurred under the cheering and they may even miss it entirely. So while your families obvious support is a great sign of support, it could also be ruining someone else’s graduation experience.
The only negative impact this vocalized support can have on other students at the graduation is that when you are graduating, and you hear someone’s name called out and their family and friends cheer, then your own name is called, and your family do the right thing, clap politely, but do not shout out loud, it can leave the graduate feeling left out and unpopular. Even at college popularity is an issue. You want people to think you have a lot of friends and family there to support you, so if no one cheers, even if they are there supporting you, it can leave a student feeling embarrassed.
At my graduation, I really did feel for any student whose name was called out without cheering, in between several students whose family cheered. The silence seemed to scream loud and clear that you were not liked, or not popular, which is really sad at the college graduation age. It seemed obvious and embarrassing for that student to have no public display of cheer and I will admit I too wanted to be one of the students with the loud family, despite finding it annoying throughout the ceremony. In my case, apparently my Mother did cheer, but I did not hear her, so it must have been loud enough to show support but not so loud that it obscured the next graduate’s name.
However, it is not the fault of the student if their family and friends cannot remain quiet at their graduation ceremony, therefore the student them self should not be punished for the behaviour of others. They most certainly should not have their certificate taken away from them. If you are going to punish anyone, punish the family. Ask them to leave. But do not punish the student. At my graduation ceremony, there was no request that people not cheer, therefore as far as anyone was aware, there was no breaching of rules, but if a college or school plans to take action, it should be specified loud and clear at the beginning of the ceremony.