UPDATE: RMU to return student’s majors to diplomas


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Garret Roberts, Editor in Chief

UPDATE: Robert Morris University and the Student Government Association on campus has announced that student’s majors will be added to diplomas again, marking a success for students who criticized the removal of the language last Fall.

“We will be able to do so in a manner that ensures we meet all accreditation requirements while still providing recognition for the program in which you have earned your degree,” Mary Ann Rafoth, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, said in an email to students.

In addition to the change for future graduates, students who graduated in the Fall of 2020 will be receiving replacement diplomas with their majors on it. This new diploma will be mailed to students in the coming weeks at no cost.

“On behalf of RMU, I thank you for your input,” said the email from Rafoth. “To our recent graduates, congratulations on your impressive achievements.”

Follow RMU Sentry Media for any future updates to this story.

MOON TOWNSHIP — As the fall semester ended at Robert Morris University, the administration announced plans to modify their diplomas for graduates. Rather than listing each student’s program at the university, these new diplomas will instead only show the name of the school students are enrolled in when attending the university.

For some students, this change is one they wish to see reversed.

Alumnus Tyler Stewart created the “RMU Degrees to list Programs Again” petition on January 28, hoping to see the degrees return to their original format. The rallying call to students seemed effective, with over 1,000 undergraduates and alumni supporting the movement to read the space for majors on the document.

Stewart’s petition, which is addressed to RMU’s President, Dr. Chris Howard, claims that the lack of majors and minors on the diplomas “makes all of my hard work feel like it accounts for nothing.” The petition goes on to say that the university should replace diplomas issued in the 2020 Fall semester and prevent the removal of the majors for future classes.

Despite the negative reception from students and alumni, the university is standing by its decision to remove the majors from their diplomas. Jonathan Potts, the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for the university, says that the change adds consistency to diplomas across all of the university’s schools.

“This eliminates discrepancies and confusion that had cropped over the years between majors and concentrations, and how they were classified on diplomas,” said Potts.

While the petition claims that this practice isn’t common for colleges, other local universities have made the shift to not feature majors and concentrations on their diplomas. Universities such as Duquesne, the University of Pittsburgh, La Roche University, Chatham University and Carlow University do not feature their concentrations either.

Additionally, RMU’s diplomas have never featured a section for academic minors throughout the history of the university. Despite not appearing on the diploma, both majors and minors remain on official transcripts from the university.

The university states that they do not currently have any plans to reverse their decision to remove majors unless specific accreditations require a change.

“We do not have plans at this time to reconsider,” said Potts. “The only exceptions are when required by school- and program-specific accrediting bodies.”