Tortilla flap

At the University of Arizona, graduating students express their exuberance by tossing tortillas at commencement. President Peter Likins, determined to stamp out tortillas, has canceled the university-wide graduation ceremony scheduled for December in favor of smaller ceremonies at each of the colleges. In 2003, Likins vowed to down the edible discs, reports the Daily Star, which doesn’t say why the president cares.

“Unless our peculiar practice of throwing tortillas ceases, we may be obliged to cancel future all-university commencement ceremonies, leaving our graduation celebrations to the individual colleges,” Likins wrote.

The tortillas continued to fly.

But are the students responsible? Alistair Chapman, the student body president, “said a video from the May 2004 commencement showed most of the tortillas were thrown from the audience. He said he believes security at the doors, similar to that at basketball games, would eliminate that problem and is needed anyway for a crowd of 14,000.”

Kimberly Swygert envisions proud parents being frisked for tortillas as they enter the UA stadium.

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  1. Forget frisking for tortillas or other food items – I’d like to see any and all air horns confiscated from parents, friends, relatives before we have our (indoor) winter graduation.

    I kind of like having hearing, you know?

  2. mike from oregon says:

    Just another example of PC gone wild. It’s filtered down to the grade school level, private ones at that. My daughter graduated from a Catholic school last year, and up till her class, it had been a ‘tradition’ for the kids in the 8th grade to raise money by selling chances. The chances were a drawing, in which the lucky winner was able to a “pie-in-the-face” to the 8th grader. This tradition had only been going on for over 50 years (the school is over 100 years in operation). Suddenly, this was demeaning and degrading, even though 23 out of the 24 kids in my daughter’s class petitioned to allow the tradition to continue.

    Bottom line, it did NOT continue. It wasn’t worth my time to go down and protest, but my daughter was sorely disappointed. The ‘tradition’ was something that she had watched her sister go through and served as a sort of “right-of-passage”, my daughter looked forward to it. The principle came up with a ‘more dignified’ ceremony, but it wasn’t half as much fun for ANY of the kids as the old tradition and it was a shame to see an old tradition laid to rest due to PC.

  3. President Likins is merely attempting to stamp out a manifestation of cultural stereotyping imposed by the dominant anglo culture and uncritically accepted by the students and parents.

    Tortilla-flinging is just an example of food-aggression. It is a tactic which seeks to suppress valid forms of self-expression by chicano students and parents by mocking their culture via pasta-aggresion.

    On the other hand, maybe Likins is a shmuck.

  4. Tortillas, fine by me. Air horns, NOT COOL! If you set off an air horn in a graduation, indoors or out, you should have your butt dragged off the premises. Period.

  5. I remember being frisked for champagne bottles during my graduation in 1985.

    This is just ridiculous.

  6. Do they still throw their caps in the air? They could put someone’s eye out!

  7. Richard Nieporent says:

    Just put down that tortilla and step away from the door!

  8. I graduated from high school in 1996 and indeed, Bill, we were told not to throw our caps in the air. We ignored it. What were they gonna do — expel us?

  9. I’ve grown up in Tucson, and not only is tortilla-tossing present for graduation at the university, it’s present at high-school graduation, too. When I graduated four years ago, we had to lift our graduation robes to show we were not concealing tortillas or beachballs (although they stopped short of actually frisking us). That didn’t stop people from finding more creative ways to hide their tortillas and deflated beachballs though, and many people managed to throw them around during our very long ceremony.
    As to the reasons for banning tortilla-throwing, I believe it’s generally viewed as a nuisance and a disturbance to what is supposed to be a somewhat solemn ceremony, as well as being a waste of food.

  10. Maybe it’s not PC that’s motivating the ban on tortilla throwing. Maybe it’s a Health Department food safety rule.


  1. Cronaca says:

    Why doth the university president rage?

    At the University of Arizona, graduating students express their exuberance by tossing tortillas at commencement. President Peter Likins, determined to…