Students who do not want their diplomas to indicate whether they were Richmond College or Westhampton College students can ask for a college-neutral diploma and they will receive it.
Monday, Oct. 28, a forum took place in the Pier for students wanting more information about obtaining a college-neutral or gender-neutral diploma upon graduation.
The event was largely an informative meeting where students shared the information that a college-neutral diploma was possible, followed by a few questions and comments from the audience.
Erik Lampmann, a senior and one of the hosts of the forum, said that acquiring a college-neutral diploma was a fairly straightforward process. To have a gender-neutral diploma, students must contact the Registrar's Office and tell them they would prefer their diploma to not indicate whether they were Westhampton or Richmond college students, Lampmann said.
"I didn't encounter any resistance at all," Lampmann said. He said that the Registrar's Office had been helpful in the process. Lampmann said: "The calligraphy, and the script, it had to be designed. And it was, so it's awesome that the institution did that." He advised students to iterate that they wanted their diploma to be college-neutral when they turned in their degree audit forms between now and Nov. 15.
The first college-neutral diploma was created for a student who graduated in 2013, Lampmann said. Many of the students in the audience expressed their concerns with this option not being placed on the form this year.
Yaz Nunez, one of the hosts of the forum, said they would place a PDF file on the Facebook event page that would outline how students could receive a gender-neutral diploma. They said Facebook had been their biggest tool in organizing the event.
About 20 people attended the event, and both Nunez and Lampmann said they thought the event had been successful. Lampmann said that the turnout was about what they had expected, and that they were happy with the energy the students had brought to the room. Nunez said that the forum had been successful because it promoted awareness of the option for a college-neutral diploma.
One student attending the event was William Moncure, a first-year student associated with the Roosevelt Institute. Moncure wanted to show support for the idea and ensure that this option kept momentum in following years, he said.
Another attending student was sophomore Masnoon Majeed. Majeed said he believed there were admirable qualities of both Westhampton College and Richmond College, and he would not like to be restricted to just Richmond College on his diploma, he said. "I'm planning on getting a degree from University of Richmond rather than Westhampton College or Richmond College," Majeed said.
One other student who commented during the forum was junior Devin DeFrancesco. He said he didn't completely identify with the idea of a Richmond College man, and felt that a college-neutral diploma would be a small way to represent his feelings.
The event was primarily organized by members of the Roosevelt Institute, but many organizations were represented at the forum, Lampmann said. The Roosevelt Institute is a progressive policy institution, Lampmann said.
Contact reporter Brennen Lutz at email@example.com