Westhampton College's Proclamation Night will be held this Sunday at 7 p.m., almost two months after it was originally planned to occur.
Proclamation is a Westhampton College tradition, organized by the Westhampton College Government Association (WCGA). The candlelight ceremony officially recognizes the freshmen as members of Westhampton College and emphasizes the importance of the Honor Code, with each freshman woman signing the Honor Code pledge. Freshmen also write a letter to themselves to be read during the Proclamation Night of their senior year about their hopes and aspirations for the coming years.
Westhampton College Dean Mia Genoni sent an email to all incoming students and their families on Aug. 4 describing the ceremony as “beautiful and welcoming.”
This year, Proclamation was planned for Sept. 18. On Sept. 9, two days following Cecilia Carreras’ criticism of how the university handled her Ttitle IX case, Genoni sent an email to the Westhampton College community postponing Proclamation, writing, “We would like the opportunity for our community to have some time to process and begin to heal.”
On Oct. 14, an email stated that Proclamation was moved to Sunday, Nov. 13. Richmond College's equivalent event, Investiture, was held in August.
“The decision was made by many people working together, including the entire Westhampton College Dean's Office and multiple representatives from the senior student leadership," Genoni told The Collegian.
The student leader of the Proclamation planning process declined to comment for this article.
“I was under the impression that they were simply putting it off because they didn’t think it was the right time, when in reality they had a lot on their plate,” Ally Charleston, class of 2020 president for WCGA, said. “That was definitely not expressed well enough to Westhampton students.”
Freshman Eliana Fleisher said she understood why Proclamation was moved, but she said she wished it had been held at the beginning of the year.
“It won’t be quite as special looking back on it our senior year,” Fleisher said.
Another freshman, Emily Ferkler, said the delay erases the point of Proclamation.
"We’ve already been here for almost a whole semester so this doesn’t feel like an induction anymore," Ferkler said.
Tinina Cade, associate vice president of student development, doesn't think the event's purpose has been jeopardized.
“The perspectives of freshmen may be slightly different now than they were at the beginning of the semester, but Proclamation Night is still in the first semester of their first year and there are still so many experiences to capture,” Cade said.
Traditionally, freshmen wear white dresses and seniors dress in black to Proclamation, but the email announcing the date change encouraged students to wear whatever they felt most comfortable in.
“I bought a white sundress and I was excited for Proclamation back in September,” freshman Rhiannon Boyd said. Now she is planning to wear a blue knit dress with a white sweater.
Despite the controversy over the date change, students remain excited for the event on Sunday.
“I am so excited for Proclamation Night,” Charleston said. “I keep hearing about how incredible the Westhampton College community is and I think Proclamation Night will give us all a tangible experience to prove how great it really is.”
Contact reporter Claire Mendelson at email@example.com