Changes to broaden stole requirements in talks

There are currently discussions looking into a possible change in the approval process for graduation stoles. The current approval process, which has been in place for over three years, limits stoles only to certain organizations that students actively participate in. Currently, 36 groups already have an approved design which members can wear for this year’s Commencement ceremony in June.

All stole requests are handled through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and all requests go through the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Mentha Hynes-Wilson. Currently, there are two requirements that must be met for organizations to apply for stoles: the first is that they must be in good standings with the university, and the second is that they must submit the design for the stole by April 17. The design for the stole must also be approved by the organization’s advisor and the design must also be sent to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs’ office, too.

Hynes-Wilson has stated that she understands that the current policy is in need of an update so as to cater to the needs of the present student population.

“The current stole approval process is one that predates my time here and I have since been made aware that the criteria and approval process is in need of a review to align with the requests and student population we now serve,” Hynes-Wilson said. “Currently, there are no major changes to the Commencement stole approval process. I have, however, relaxed the criteria a bit and [am] gathering information to inform a new policy for spring 2022.”

Hynes-Wilson explained further that stoles are generally reserved for students who are a part of a Registered Student Organization, a UW Tacoma recognized honor society, as well as certain other UW organizations. 

“If I receive a request for an exception, I will consider it on a case-by-case basis as long as the stole design and its meaning is appropriate and relates to academic celebration,” Hynes-Wilson said.

Students and organizations are themselves responsible for submitting their approval requests for stole designs, as well as the purchase and distribution of the stoles. Groups who already have an approved stole on file with Student Affairs — and are not planning to redesign the stole — do not need to submit another request and are good to go ahead and order their stoles for Commencement.

Commencement itself will happen on June 15. The ceremony will be only one event, as opposed to previous years’ two events which were split between the gold and purple ceremonies. Commencement will start at 2:30 p.m. and it is expected to last around three and a half hours, concluding by 6 p.m. Undergraduate students have until April 17 to register for commencement, and they must do so through their academic advisor. Graduate students looking to attend Commencement also have until April 17 to contact their program advisor.