Claflin, SCSU students link via Paw University

Mar 04, 2020

 Mr. S.C. State Charles Patton says the university deciding against commencement changes shows student voices are being heard.


It began with an email informing South Carolina State University students, faculty and staff there would be two graduation ceremonies for the spring class of 2020, one at 10.a.m. and one following at 4 p.m. A person’s major would dictate the graduation time.  

Shortly after the email was sent, S.C. State students took to social media to express frustration. “You only get to graduate from college once and we can’t even do that right,” read the post from one student.

Following numerous social media posts were conversations on the yard at S.C. State among students and faculty that both the new location of the graduation ceremonies and times were a result of budget discrepancies. 

In previous years, S.C. State has held class graduations at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium but would now move the ceremonies to Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.

The next afternoon, students, faculty and staff received an email from university President James E. Clark about commencement changes. “Those plans are now on hold pending further discussion,” Clark stated.

Then in a communication sent by email and dated Feb. 26, S.C. State told all May 2020 prospective graduates that spring commencement would be held Friday, May 8, at 5 p.m. at Oliver C. Dawson Bulldog Stadium.

Mr. S.C. State Charles Patton says, “This shows that here at S.C. State, our voices have power. The administration listens to us and takes what we say into consideration.” 

As a graduating senior, Patton himself had concerns. He said sharing the moment of receiving a diploma with everyone in your class is important, no matter the major.  

Patton said the bond between Claflin and S.C. State is valuable. 

With only a gate separating the two universities, Claflin and State’s student government associations and class officials decided to come together and create Paw University. Paw University started on social media but has now grown into a platform for the neighboring universities to collaborate on events and other things. 

Recently the two universities cohosted a Barbershop Talk on the campus of S.C. State. Present were both the royal courts of S.C. State and Claflin. They discussed topics chosen by the student body. 

“We have many more exciting collaborations that are coming,” Patton said.

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