University of Colorado Boulder students are petitioning the administration for an in-person graduation ceremony.
Last week, university leaders wrote in a newsletter to degree candidates for the Class of 2021 that the school’s commencement ceremony will take place via livestream instead of in person.
Citing public health indications, they noted that large gatherings such as commencement would not be feasible by early May.
“While we are extremely saddened to move commencement online, the safety of our students, families and community are paramount,” said CU Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano in the newsletter.
The online petition asking leaders to reconsider has more than 3,000 signatures. Students believe that the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic could drastically change over the next five months.
“From missed game days to nearly a year of online classes, the only motivating factor was the thought of an in-person graduation, to get the recognition we deserve,” the petition stated. “We are writing to the CU Administration to kindly request a reconsideration on the decision to hold a remote Spring 2021 commencement ceremony. We understand the greater risk to the community with increased travel, which is why we believe there is a way to meet our requests while prioritizing safety. We feel that this decision was made prematurely.”
Fifth-year student Vinay Simlot who will be graduating with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and aerospace engineering, did not mind the decision to alter commencement plans.
“Asking us to move the graduation online pales in comparison to the suffering that everyone else is going through,” Simlot said. “To me, college is about the education and the growth that you’ve gone through over the years. No one can take that away. The graduation being online can’t take that away. College is more than walking across the stage and getting a piece of paper.”
Grace Clarke, who studies molecular cellular developmental biology, agrees that the decision was made too early to call off a commencement.
“I was upset when I heard,” she said. “There are legitimate concerns, but there should be a way to do graduation without having to go online.”
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