Graduating Berkeley Students Required to Pay a Fee to Attend Ceremony With Nancy Pelosi

Students graduating this month from the University of California, Berkeley will have to pay a $10 admission fee to their own commencement ceremony.

From left, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., walk to a news conference to criticize the GOP budget bill being put forth by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, April 7, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) walks to a news conference to criticize the GOP budget (AP)

The fee will be used to help the school “absorb the cost” of the ceremony, which will include food, flowers and a keynote address by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Guests will also be required to pay a $10 admission fee.

Students had until Wednesday to purchase tickets to their own graduation, according to the school’s website. Student who failed to do this will not be allowed to attend the graduation ceremony.

“[The money is] to absorb the cost of commencement,” a Berkeley official told the student-run newspaper the Daily Californian. “It’s huge.”

A Pelosi representative told Campus Reform that the congresswoman is not being compensated for speaking at Berkeley’s graduation ceremony.

Graduating students will not have their names announced during the all-school ceremony.

“We encourage you to participate in your department graduation ceremony where graduate names are read and awards are recognized,” the university’s website said.

Students are encouraged to attend their individual department’s graduation ceremonies, which are free for them, but their guests must still pay.

A university spokesperson said that this is longstanding school policy.

“Berkeley has charged a nominal fee to attend the campus-wide commencement since 2000, when we reinstated this tradition,” a university spokesperson said in a statement. “This event is in addition to the department and school ceremonies students normally attend.

“The event is very popular, and it has grown from approximately 200 graduates participating in our first year to over 4,000 graduates expected to participate this year,” the statement added. “The longstanding practice of ticket sales helps to defray the logistics and production costs associated with an event of this magnitude.”

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This post has been updated.