Selfies Not Tolerated During Graduation Ceremony

May 4, 2014
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Selfie was the word of the year in 2013 and caught on big time with people from all walks of life sharing their private moments on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a handful of other social media websites. To some the selfie has become a part of everyday life while others find it a nuisance.

Graduates at the University of South Florida and Bryan University in Smithfield R.I. have been asked to not waste time on self-portraits during the ceremony when they receive their diplomas, calling it improper and threatening to withhold diplomas.

Mass communication major Kyra Ciotti, 22, at USF is addicted to selfies and often shares pictures of herself lying in bed, riding in a car, posing with her dog, taking a shot of tequila or any other mundane activity she feels the world has to know about.

But with the university coming down on selfies on stage at the graduation, she said she’ll keep her phone away.

“I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. But I don’t want to be disrespectful,” Ciotti said.

Administrators at both USF and Bryant said their intentions are less dramatic than students are making them out to be. They simply want to make sure that the ceremony, which normally runs for a few hours, doesn’t drag out even longer.

Michael Freeman, the dean at USF, drafted the guidelines now implemented by the university. He said he thought it was only fair that everyone should be able to enjoy themselves equally on stage: “It’s your moment in the sun right next to everyone else’s moment in the sun. I don’t have an anti-selfie bent. I would just caution students to think there’s a time and a place.”

Other schools avoid the hard-line-approach adopted by USF and Bryant. At Ripon College, in Ripon Wis., all festivities of this year’s graduation are built around a theme of new media. There students are encouraged to circulate a hashtag and tweet during the ceremonies. They’re even setting up a booth with props where students can go and take their selfies.

“The college will not limit that kind of self-expression,” said Melissa Anderson, the school’s executive director of marketing and communications. “As a point of pride, we hope students take a lot of selfies.”

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