Senior protests paying for cap, gown

Geneseo senior and political science major Stephanie Remick has taken the seemingly small issue of the cost of a cap and gown and turned it into something she hopes will cause the College to change a policy.

Remick was disappointed when she found out that the cap and gown that she would need for participation in graduation ceremonies would cost $34.80, and when she added her Honors Cord, the total cost rose to $43.20. Her logic was simple: "It cost me $34.80, and I thought it was completely absurd. So, I decided, why not wear it more than once?" Yesterday marked the 10th day that Remick has worn her cap and gown around campus, in an attempt to get the school to change its policy.

Remick has attracted the attention of many students, faculty and staff as well as community members in Geneseo. Remick said that some students feel that she is simply seeking attention. In response, she said, "I'm doing this to bring attention to the policy, not bring attention to me." Other students have told her that they support her cause, even though nobody else has gone as far as joining her in wearing their gown on campus. She also noted that people in the community have noticed her and asked her about her cause. "Community members have appreciated my efforts," she said.

Remick also noted that one of her professors told her that it does appear that the school could be about to change the wording of its policy. Currently, students who participate in graduation must be wearing "appropriate attire," she said. According to the professor who spoke with Remick, this could potentially change to specify that "appropriate attire" is a "cap and gown."

What Remick ultimately would like to see come out of her protest is a new way of distributing caps and gowns, rather than students having to pay for them. She suggests the possibility of students renting their caps and gowns for a small price, and then returning them so they could be washed and reused. She recognizes that she is fighting a small policy, but also feels that she is doing something worthwhile. "It's not an atrocious amount, we're [students] not paying as much as professors, but nobody said it's worth paying for," she said.

Remick admitted to being somewhat surprised at the attention, but she's glad to have provoked dialogue. "An effective protest gets people talking," she said.