At The University of Texas, financially burdening students is a time-honored tradition. Last week, the high price tag of class rings prevented many otherwise eligible students from participating in the Texas Exes’ Ring Celebration. Money should not keep students from partaking in events dedicated to their success.
In order to let all students participate in campus traditions, UT should offer and create cheaper class ring options.
According to the UT commencement page, the class ring is “designed for and by UT students.” However, it has become extremely apparent that it has not been designed with every student in mind.
The cheapest ring option the University offers has a base cost of $670, which is a $30 increase from last semester’s price. For many students, including psychology senior Marisol Chavez, the cheapest option is still unaffordable.
“Right now I don’t have the money,” Chavez said. “My situation at home is not great. I’m providing for my siblings, so I’m working two jobs and sending money back home.”
For students like Chavez, the ring ceremony would represent the barriers they had to overcome to succeed. A class ring should be an option for the whole class. If a student is capable of attending and graduating from UT, they should have the ability to memorialize that accomplishment.
“As a first-generation student, getting a ring would represent me getting through college and being the first person in my family to graduate … but it’s so expensive,” Chavez said. “I wish there was a more affordable option or at least a way we could be in the ring ceremony.”
In a previous Daily Texan article, Courtney Roehling, vice president of engagement for Texas Exes, said the expensive pricing derives from the quality of metal UT chooses to offer. For this column, Roehling was not available for comment before publication.
Since a large portion of the cost is determined by the type of metal, UT should create a ring that uses a cheaper alternative material. Students should be given the right to choose whether they want to purchase a higher-priced metal or a cheaper option.
The symbolic meaning behind the ring does not stem from the metal itself, but the traditions that accompany it. A ring does not have to be 10 karats to be stored in the Tower overnight or to be given to a student by their parents. As long as a student is able to participate in these traditions, the ring will have ceremonial value. It will just be at a more affordable price.
A student’s socioeconomic status should not determine whether they can be included at an event designed to commemorate their success at UT. Students should be able to show off their academic accomplishments without having to be financially burdened in the process.
Lopez is a rhetoric and writing sophomore from Nederland, Texas.