2020 spring commencement postponed

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On Thursday, University President Dennis Assanis announced that the school will postpone the spring graduation ceremony for the class of 2020.

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On Thursday, University President Dennis Assanis announced that the school will postpone the spring graduation ceremony for the class of 2020.

“We’ve had to take a series of responsible, yet drastic measures to keep our community safe and healthy,” Assanis said. “Unfortunately this now means that we must postpone our plans for the traditional commencement ceremony scheduled for May.”

Assanis made it clear that this decision is not a cancellation.

A survey attached to the announcement outlined several alternative options that could take the place of the originally scheduled commencement ceremony. Members of the class of 2020 and community members are encouraged to share their thoughts before Thursday, April 9.

In the letter, Assanis offered possible alternatives, such as an online ceremony on May 30, a traditional in-person ceremony later in the year or a shared graduation with the class of 2021 next year.

Either way, Assanis said he hopes to ensure the class of 2020 has a “special celebration” without the traditional commencement ceremony in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic.

Dawson Fox, a senior studying computer engineering, expressed disappointment that he would be missing out the sense of closure that a traditional ceremony provides. For Fox, the primary loss is the convocation ceremony, where he hoped to close out four years of hard work with his tight-knit peers and professors.

“I was really looking forward to attending my college’s convocation,” Fox said. “There’s a ton of people at this school I’ve never interacted with, but within my college it’s different. This convocation was supposed to be an acknowledgment that four years of effort and all the achievements have come to a close, one last ceremony to see everyone, both teachers and peers, in my college.”

Although Fox understands the university is in a difficult position, he does not feel that any of the alternatives could properly replace the originally planned 2020 ceremonies.

“I understand the university is in a tight spot, but I don’t think any of the options would provide that same sense of closure,” Fox said.

Carley O’Reilly Ninger, a senior psychology major, was taking an evening walk around The Green, stretching after another day at home during the quarantine. She said she was upset about the news.

“But I’m happy that they’re trying to be accommodating and replanning stuff for us rather than flat out canceling [commencement],” Ninger said. “I’m glad they’re working with us to get our opinions, I think that’s something different than what other schools are doing and I appreciate it.”

Ninger’s friends, Ana Shaud and Allie O’Connell, were walking with her. O’Connell said it’s the thought that counts and was grateful the university is still trying to do something special for graduates.

A business management major, Shaud said she was also distraught but felt the school is doing all it can.

“I think Dennis is trying,” Shaud said. “Even having a survey option is them showing that they care about how we feel,”

Evan Driscoll, a political science and environmental science double major, is still living on campus. He said he felt relieved, albeit with concerns that a May ceremony would spread the virus further within the university community if the class of 2020 was brought back on campus.

“What’s most important to me is that the class of 2020 can all get back together when we are finally ready to say goodbye,” Driscoll said. “There [are] a lot of things that we missed out on, and I want to share that moment with my friends in my class and friends in the years below me.”

Though students wish they had one last goodbye with friends this spring, they seem to understand the decision.

“A lot of people have mixed feelings about this, but I think it’s important to recognize that I don’t think it’s the universities fault, they’re not trying to take anything away from us,” Fox said. “I think it’s important to recognize that this is an unfortunate situation for everyone involved.”

Check back frequently for more coverage of coronavirus from The Review at UDReview.com/Category/Coronavirus.

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