Local News

UNC -Charlotte Students Want More Tickets To Aiken Graduation

Posted November 26, 2003

— A seven-ticket limit on a University of North Carolina-Charlotte graduation ceremony expected to involve "American Idol" star Clay Aiken has students protesting.

About 500 signed a petition Tuesday that calls the ticket policy "unfair" and asks university leaders to meet with students to consider alternatives.

"We're just not being treated right," said Cody Willets, the senior leading the effort.

University officials announced the ticket limit for the 3 p.m. Dec. 20 ceremony last week. Some students say they've already invited family and friends.

The university says it is limiting tickets because Aiken plans to attend and because of the large size of the graduating class. More than 1,000 students are eligible to graduate at the 3 p.m. ceremony.

Aiken, 24, is finishing an independent study course at UNCC now, his last requirement toward a Bachelor of Arts in special education.

December graduate Sherry Vadney said the school could schedule an extra graduation ceremony that day or allow students scheduled to graduate with Aiken to move to a morning ceremony that is already planned.

"We don't have a problem with Clay," Vadney said. "He's not requesting any special treatment. We just feel like there are other options."

Willets hopes to collect 1,000 more signatures Monday, when classes resume after Thanksgiving, and meet with university officials the next day.

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