By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Congratulations… I guess?

Graduating seniors to not receive honor cords
Gabriela Gonzalez
Cum laude tassel (left), regular tassel (right).

Late-night study sessions, office hour visits and frequent trips to Brooks Library are overly familiar experiences for CWU’s graduating senior class. For a select group of students, years of effort have culminated in academic honors. Hours of blood, sweat and in some cases, quite literal tears, earn graduates the titles of Cum Laude (GPA between 3.50-3.69), Magna Cum Laude (3.70-3.89) and Summa Cum Laude (3.90-4.0). To recognize this exemplary academic achievement at spring commencement, the pinnacle of some students’ college careers, these high achievers are not awarded with honor cords. Rather, they are given honor tassels to attach to their graduation caps. 

“I think it’s pretty sad for students that have worked so hard in college to be an honor student, to not get honors cords, then to find out that our tassels don’t even have a charm of our graduation year on it,” voiced Sydney Ziegler, a senior communication major and honors student. “It feels very cheap and honestly disrespectful towards the students who have put so much work into their education and choosing to graduate from Central.” 

CWU isn’t the only school in the state to abstain from providing honors cords, however these schools are separate from a strong majority. Western Washington University, Eastern Washington University and the University of Washington all award high academic achieving students with honor cords, leaving CWU an unfortunate outlier. 

The responsibility of handing out honor tassels falls to the Office of the Registrar. At this time, they do not have a full, comprehensive list of which departments within the school provide honor cords for their students. In reality, not all CWU graduates are part of a department that awards honor cords. 

Grace DiOrio will be graduating this spring as an education major, and she was recently informed that the education department does not hand out honor cords. DiOrio feels that honor tassels do not give justice to the work put into being an honor student. “I do not feel like a tassel showcases the honors to others like honor cords would,” DiOrio said. “I also believe that since there are no representation of honors on the tassel, except for the color, how would anyone know?” The School of Education is one of the largest departments at CWU. 

Not only does CWU’s administration not provide honor cords, but they also have no updated information for students as to how they might access cords through other departments, assuming their department offers honor cords in the first place. 

Cashier at the Wildcat Shop, graduate Information Technology and Administrative Management student Natalie Lysene, described her experiences navigating the convoluted honor tassel discussion as a school employee. “I haven’t had any frustration from customers really but there is always a lot of confusion about that,” Lysene said. “Our managers just tell us to say that any cords are through their different departments.” 

For most students, honors regalia are not just an insignificant accessory meant to complement their crimson gowns. Mattie Wilson, a senior honor student in the communication program, shared her thoughts as a first-generation college student.

“Graduating is not just a huge success for me but it’s also a huge success for my family,” Wilson said. “I am lucky to have an extremely supportive family that has helped me in many ways and I do believe the school should recognize the fact that we have earned our place in honors and provide us with honors cords. We have worked not only as students but as people and employees for the school and providing honors cords should be something that the school can do.” 

Ziegler felt similarly, she emphasized the hard work done by honors students and the little acknowledgement they’re given in return.  “Don’t just give us a letter every quarter saying ‘congratulations you are on the honor roll,’ give us something that means something and shows you actually care about your students.”

With or without honor cords, Ziegler, Wilson and the rest of CWU’s undergraduate class of 2024 will proudly walk across the commencement stage on June 8 to be celebrated for their achievements. 

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