For graduating seniors at Cal State Northridge, the first day of the rest of their lives will start a little later.
Responding to complaints from students and parents, the university said Thursday that it will change the start of spring graduation ceremonies May 26 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
CSUN administrators announced the 7 a.m. start time last month, saying the early hour would avoid high temperatures and be symbolic of a new beginning for graduates.
“We had thought that the students would be excited about it,” university spokeswoman Ann Salisbury said. “That didn’t happen . . . . You have to listen to what the students want.”
Some of the 4,650 graduating students and their parents complained to university officials that they would have to awake before dawn to attend the ceremony at the Hollywood Bowl.
Valerie Kuklensky, managing editor of the Daily Sundial, the campus newspaper, said most letters to the editor on the subject opposed the 7 a.m. start. She said many students charged that the early hour was an attempt to curtail drinking and rowdiness, but Salisbury denied that was the purpose.
The university decided to hold the event at the Bowl because construction has closed the grassy area in front of Oviatt Library, where graduation ceremonies usually take place.
Some students also have complained about plans to limit the number of relatives and friends that can be invited to the Bowl, which holds fewer people than the campus graduation site. Salisbury said Thursday that most students will be limited to four tickets each, but some may be given more if other students order less than four.
The Bowl has 17,960 seats and 3,500 parking spaces.
Salisbury said the Bowl’s design will not permit students to march on stage to receive their diplomas, as has been done in ceremonies on campus. But administrators hope that a way can be found for university President James W. Cleary to individually recognize each student, she said.
“It was never anyone’s hope that students wouldn’t get this recognition,” she said.