Sunday, January 14, 2007

900 Graduate from UC Davis in Fall commencement


Almost 900 soon-to-be UC Davis graduates will file into the ARC Pavilion on campus, take to the stage one by one, and move the tassel on their graduation cap from right to left as part of two commencement ceremonies on Sunday, Dec 17.

This year's fall commencements mark the fourth anniversary of a program that was launched to take the pressure off a crowded spring ceremony and now has grown into a popular alternative. Because of demand, one ceremony has become two -- one at 10 a.m. for the College of Letters and Science, and another at 2 p.m. for the colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Engineering and Biological Sciences.

"Our first year, we had only 200 to 300 graduates altogether and were able to fit all four colleges into one ceremony," said Charlene Sweeting, student affairs officer for the College of Biological Sciences. "But the event became so well attended that after two years we had to split it into two. Even now, each of the ceremonies is going to be pushed to the limit."

Leticia Miller, candidate for a Bachelor of Science in psychology, will address almost 450 participating students and their guests at the morning ceremony. In the afternoon, about 425 students are expected to attend, and they will hear from student speaker Sara Khandan, candidate for a B.S. in biological sciences.

Maddy Rehrman, who coordinated ceremonies for Letters and Science for almost eight years and oversaw the introduction of fall commencement before her retirement, was rehired to help organize the college's commencements for the academic year. Despite its quick growth, she said, the fall commencement is a good way of satisfying the needs of students and their guests.

"Students like the idea of a smaller ceremony and that they can receive a greater number of tickets than they can in June when tickets are at a real premium," said Rehrman. "The past few years we have had over 1,000 students in each of our two L&S June ceremonies, thus reducing the number of tickets available.

"We are much more flexible in the December ceremony," she added.

In the spring, UC Davis holds 12 graduation ceremonies for Graduate Studies, the four undergraduate colleges and the five professional schools.

Media contact(s):
* Julia Ann Easley, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-8248,



UC Davis has introduced a new downloading service to encourage students to stay on the right side of the law as the music industry continues to sue those who illegally share copyrighted music.

The campus joined with Cdigix, the leading digital media provider to colleges, to decrease illegal file sharing and make students aware of the legal alternatives.

Beginning midway through the fall quarter, UC Davis students were provided free access to Ctrax, the company's basic service, and a library of more than two million songs from 100,000 artists in 23 genres. Employees and alumni pay a monthly fee of $5.99. As of Dec.
10, more than 1,300 individuals had subscribed.

All UC Davis students can sign up for an account and be able to download, stream and create playlists through the company's music player. Although Ctrax users do not legally own any of the music, subscribers have full access to anything in the library.

Students also have the option to upgrade their subscription with the Ctrax2Go service, at $6.99 per month, which allows them to download tunes onto an MP3 player. As long as students are current subscribers, both services permit students to legally download files
-- but not share them with others. A third alternative is to permanently purchase song tracks at a cost of 89 cents each or $9.99 for an album or box set.

Illegal file sharing is a significant problem at universities across the country, and it has led to lawsuits involving students. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), universities are obligated to terminate Internet access for anyone caught sharing files illegally through campus servers.

According to Jan Carmikle, who receives notices of alleged copyright infringements for UC Davis, the school received almost 300 complaints of alleged copyright violations against students during the last academic year. Individuals associated with notifications are subject to disciplinary action, including the temporary loss of network privileges. While the first offense results in a warning from Student Judicial Affairs, subsequent offenses will lead to a permanent loss of Internet privileges.

Tracy Bennett, associate director of student housing, said Ctrax provides an ideal solution. "For any student who wants to listen to music on their computer, Ctrax gives you excellent access," he said.

Media contact(s):
* Julia Ann Easley, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-8248,

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