SHSU Student and Student Organization Commencement Etiquette Policy

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Commencement is a wonderful, momentous, celebratory occasion for students, family, friends, and loved ones. To ensure safety, efficiency, and enjoyment by all, we require Sam Houston State University (SHSU) students, including those graduating and representatives of student organizations, to observe the following:

  • Safety and efficiency of the program is a priority. Students must participate or observe the ceremony in a quiet, attentive, and respectful manner. Graduates may not delay or disrupt the program and must follow the instructions for this formal occasion throughout the ceremony.
  • Each graduate deserves to have their name heard by family members and friends. To facilitate this time-honored tradition, students and guests must be courteous and refrain from extensive celebrating that disrupts or delays the ceremony, or drowns out announcement of the name of another graduate.
  • For safety and efficiency reasons, graduates are not permitted to carry nor be accompanied by any individual or animal during participation in the ceremony. However, a service animal may accompany an individual with a disability. To facilitate ceremony planning, we request those requiring a service animal provide notice of the intent to bring the animal through submission of the Commencement Accommodations Request Form at least two weeks in advance of the ceremony. Should a graduate need any other disability accommodation, please contact the Registrar's Office at

For purposes of this policy, graduates participating in the ceremony, remain “students” subject to the SHSU Student Code of Conduct. Failure to adhere to this policy may result in a University fine of up to $300 per violation and student discipline for individual graduates, students, or student organizations. (See the attached Commencement Etiquette Reporting & Discipline Process). Please note that graduates may not receive their diploma or an official transcript if there is an outstanding balance on their SHSU account, including any fine for violating this policy.

The University wants to ensure that everyone has a memorable commencement as they and their family and friends celebrate this significant milestone in their lives in a safe and respectful environment.

SHSU Commencement Etiquette Reporting & Discipline Process

  • A violation of the Commencement Etiquette Policy may be reported by the President, Provost, Graduation Marshal or any SHSU Administrative Officer serving on the Commencement Committee are made to the Commencement Committee Chair.
  • Upon receipt of a report, the Committee Chair will, within one business day, report the violation to the Dean of Students’ Office with the name of the allegedly offending student and/or organization, along with a description of the activity.
  • All notices to graduates, students, and student organizations required by this policy will be issued through and to the individual’s assigned SHSU email addresses.
  • The Dean of Students’ Office will, within one business day, notify the alleged offender of the reported violation and notice of rights by providing a link to this policy.
  • Within three business days, the Dean, or Dean’s designee will review all of information available, including but not limited to the recording of the ceremony, and determine whether the policy was violated.
  • When there is a finding of a violation, the Dean or designee will assign an appropriate sanction of a fine up to $300 per violation, disciplinary probation or both and will provide the policy offender(s) notice of the finding and any sanction. When a fine is imposed, the Dean of Students’ Office will place an immediate hold on any individual graduate’s transcript/diploma until the fine is paid or otherwise removed through further adjudication as described below.
  • When the sanction is against a student organization, the organization will be considered “not in good standing” until the period of disciplinary probation is complete, the fine is paid, and/or the matter is further adjudicated under the policies listed above.
  • As in any disciplinary action, students are afforded due process. Graduates, students, or student organizations disputing the facts or sanction must, within three (3) days of the date of the notice of sanction, submit a written request for a hearing to the Dean of Students. The procedures for the process are detailed in Chapter VI, Section 5 of the Texas State University System Rules and Regulations and SHSU Student Guidelines, Code of Student Conduct.
  • The Dean of Students’ Office will clear the student(s) or organization(s) once the sanction has been completed or otherwise removed.
  • All fines collected in association with violations of this policy will be deposited in the SHSU General Scholarship Fund.

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