The selfie is under siege. Whether or not the act of taking a photograph of oneself with the smartphone or tablet is free expression protected by the United States Constitution has not yet managed to make headlines, but that day might be coming. According to the Associated Press, a few colleges and universities have banned students from taking selfies while accepting their diplomas. The problem is, the decision should be left up to the universities, which makes everybody right.
Just as Inside Higher Ed points out, if every student, or even every other student, stopped for a few seconds to snap a picture on stage or while accepting the diploma, the ceremony could become significantly longer. Of course how long directly correlates to the number of graduates. Plus, there is a chance that other people taking pictures, like family members, will have photos ruined by the person in front of someone snapping a pic. Some schools are taking a hard line approach. According to CBSMiami, the University of Florida has banned the selfie and has warned students that their degree will be withheld and there will be disciplinary action. Now that is hardcore.
However, not every university is chanting “Down with the #Selfie.” Ripon College is encouraging students to tweet throughout the ceremony and is even setting up a selfie booth. Again though, Ripon boasts a total enrollment of about 1,000 students, according to its website. Therefore the time debate is pretty mute. Still, the fact that some colleges are encouraging the practice is fine as well.
That’s the thing, the selfie is not really a big deal. The fact that there is a time and place for pausing for a few seconds to snap a picture is what the fuss is about. How far off is the bride and groom at the altar selfie? Perhaps the getting ready to testify at a trial pic is coming soon as well. There is little doubt that some pictures just should not be taken or do not have to be taken. However, when it comes to graduation ceremonies, colleges and universities have all the decision making power they need.
Yes, it is the students that pay (and many pay handsomely) for the chance to walk onto that stage and receive that degree, but the folks behind the scenes set the rules and it looks like professionalism takes the cake in many places. Besides, there will likely be another chance to extend the arm and share that #graduationselfie with the world.