In our opinion: USC mismanaged commencement speaker

Last week, we were giddy over the prospect of having Vice President Joe Biden deliver a commencement address. This week, we round the peripeteia as the news breaks that each graduate is only allotted four tickets. To add insult to injury, we’ve been given less than a month’s notice, and that’s only thanks to the news being snuffed out rather than the school issuing a release.

Let’s delve into and diffuse the obvious: each student is only allotted four tickets. This means for the classic four-person nuclear family, Johnny’s going to have to reveal which grandparent is his favorite, as both won’t be able to watch him walk across the stage. Worse yet, those who have already planned, booked and paid for the accommodations of even larger families are staring down some seriously devalued graduation plans, and (the worst, for some) a lot of wasted money.

This is the nature of booking someone with a lot of pull: everyone and their uncle (and aunt, great aunt, cousin, step-son…) wants to see the standing vice president of the United States of America give a commencement speech. Considering commencement addresses placement on the entertainment spectrum of speeches (rather high), who wouldn’t want to see Joe Biden give one?

Enter the consequences of finite supply with relatively endless demand, and the four-ticket system to accommodate it. You can’t get mad at USC for limiting tickets; they’re doing what they must. However, you’re more than welcome to take issue with their timing, or lack thereof.

As soon as USC began concluding their deal with Joe Biden, they should have began issuing warnings of the potential sensitivity of the event and the ramifications for families. Instead, we’re learning of this ticket limit long after plans have been made and personal invites distributed. Shortchanging our graduates and rending their family’s plans like this is borderline disrespectful, and could have been avoided, or at least mitigated.

But USC mismanaged this, and our graduates and their families must brunt the majority of the consequences. However, that’s not to say the school won’t get an earful, because we can imagine the scorn has only begun.


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