Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas Exes to host cultural graduation celebrations

Breyona Mitchell

Texas Exes will host cultural graduation celebrations for students and their families after the University announced it will no longer fund cultural graduation ceremonies because of Senate Bill 17, a Texas Exes spokesperson said on Thursday.

The four celebrations — Lavender Graduation, GraduAsian, Latinx Graduation and Black Graduation — will all take place in the Alumni Center on either May 8 or 9, said Dorothy Guerrero, Texas Exes vice president of communications. Students will receive emails about, and invitations for, the ceremonies in the coming weeks. 

“We’re all about celebrating graduation because that’s the point when you become an official Texas Ex and hopefully join (Texas Exes),” Guerrero said. “That’s what we do, we welcome you into this new chapter of life and we celebrate your accomplishments, so this just felt like a natural fit.”

Graduates are invited to bring family to the celebrations, which will be drop-in, unlike previous ceremonies where graduates walked across a stage. Guerrero said graduates will also have the option to pre-purchase a Longhorn pin and commemorative gift.

As a nonprofit organization, Guerrero said Texas Exes will work with alumni networks, including the Black Alumni Network, Hispanic Alumni Network and Pride Alumni Network to host the celebrations and find volunteers. 

LaToya Smith, vice president for the Division of Campus and Community Engagement, said Brandelyn Flunder, director of the Center for Leadership and Learning, has also been consulting students about the details of this year’s Black Graduation.

“We’re not going to be able to have the same formal programming the way that we’ve done (Black Graduation) in the past,” Smith said at a Black Ex-Students of Texas meeting on Feb. 8. “(Flunder is) also figuring out what the students want it to look like within what the Alumni Center can do.”

Kent Kasischke, former Pride Network president, said he believes alumni should take this opportunity to step up and support current students.

“Even if we aren’t part of the University, we’re alumni who could step up to fill that void that SB 17 ultimately created,” Kasischke said. “Alumni need to step up to create that space, to step into their privilege and be able to create that space they had the last 20 (to) 30 years.”

Kasischke, who worked with the Pride Network until September, said many alumni didn’t initially realize the gravity of SB 17 and how it could impact the University’s programs.

“We all let it flow by without taking it seriously,” Kasischke said. “It wasn’t until fall of 2023 when people really had to take a moment and realize that there were some large things happening that we didn’t have answers for, and I think people have been sitting in this gray space of what to do.” 

Guerrero said she’s glad Texas Exes can take this role in supporting students.

“Becoming an alumnus is a big deal, and however we can commemorate that and make it more special, that’s what we’re always looking to do,” Guerrero said.

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About the Contributors
Naina Srivastava, Senior News Reporter & Senior Photographer
Naina is a freshman journalism major from Mountain View, California. She is currently a senior news reporter and senior photographer at the Texan.
Breyona Mitchell, Associate Comics Editor
Breyona is a sophomore english and studio art double major from Houston, Texas. Currently, they work as the associate comics editor and has previously drawn for the paper as a senior artist. They love playing video games with their friends.