Dependable Erection

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I write letters

A letter to the Durham County legislative delegation:

Dear Durham Legislators,

I am a Durham resident for the past fourteen years who is preparing to attend my daughter's graduation this weekend from Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina. Her grandmother and aunt have flown in from Florida and New York to witness this important milestone in her life.

I was very surprised to read an email from my daughter this morning, which included these comments, part of an official release from the University:

Photos of the ceremony will be made. Information on purchasing copies will be sent to the student's permanent address. Only authorized press and University photographers are permitted on the floor to take pictures after the ceremony is in progress. Official photographs taken by Chappell Studios, 800-247-3435 or

Am i to understand that after 14 years of paying taxes to the State of North Carolina, a portion of which are used to fund the University system, and four years of paying tuition, which has risen over 50% since she first enrolled, that her graduation ceremony is going to be used as a profit making enterprise by a private photographer, and that i am forbidden to make my own personal images of my daughter receiving her diploma?

Is this the height of idiocy? Is this even legal?

During my daughter's college career, I have received numerous requests from the University for additional funds, over and above her tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Providing her with an education has been a bit of a struggle, and i wish i could have given her more money, and still had some left to make donations to the University. Alas, i've done the best i could with my financial resources.

But i can tell you in no uncertain terms, if the University prevents me from taking my own photographs of this momentous occasion, forcing me instead to contribute to some private enterprise which is probably kicking a certain percentage of the proceeds back to the University, or worse, to some of its officers, that i will never consider making a donation to the University's fund. What a cheap and stupid means of raising funds.

Surely "the University of the People" can do better than this?

Barry Ragin


  • Oh god -- they hold you hostage at your own daughter's graduation. They should go fuck themselves.

    By Blogger Joe, at 12:25 AM  

  • Rep. Lubke responded to my email (at 4:30 in the morning!) and said he would forward my complaint to Erskine Bowles.

    Rereading the paragraph in question, it's possible to read it as saying that i will be allowed to take photos from my seat, but not from the floor in the area where graduates are receiving their diplomas. If that's the case i can understand the policy of trying to prevent the mess of hundreds of parents crowding each other out for the best shot.

    But if that's what they're saying, they could have been a bit more explicit about what is and is not permitted.

    As it currently reads, i am assuming that i am putting myself at risk of ejection from the ceremony (or worse), if i try to take a picture from my seat with my long lens.

    We'll see.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 8:02 AM  

  • ASU certainly could've given some clarification as to their intent, if their intent is, as you suggested, to prevent a mob of photographers.

    Enjoy the graduation and your time in Boone!

    By Blogger toastie, at 5:14 PM  

  • Since it has already taken place, this is no help - but your second interpretation is correct - it simply meant that you would not be allowed "on the floor" to take the pictures - as the flier cleary states - you no doubt saw that many folks took photos from the stands.

    Of course, perhaps just an e-mail to the university instead of to your Representative and then Erskine Bowles would have answered that...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 PM  

  • See the post above where i acknowledge my error.

    The flier clearly states that no photography will be allowed "from the floor." It also clearly states that photos can be purchased from a third party vendor, and even provides a handy URL for contacting the paid photographer.

    Nowhere does it state that private photography will be allowed from the seating bowl, which message would have obviated all confusion.

    As far as contacting the legislative delegation as opposed to the University, hell, it was 11 pm, and i was leaving early the next morning to drive up to Boone. Those guys represent me in Raleigh. I don't know who, exactly, Erskine Bowles represents. And i didn't, and still don't, have enough time in my life trying to navigate the University's voice-mail system to find out who exactly i would need to speak wit to have clarified the situation.

    Anyway, even though it worked out in the end, i'm still an asshole.

    No problems acknowledging that on my part.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 1:06 PM  

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