Seniors set to graduate in the Spring semester are now faced with disappointment since commencement ceremonies for the spring “will be disrupted,” according to UNC System Interim President Bill Roper.
At a special meeting of the UNC Board of Governors, Roper announced that each university’s chancellor, with input from faculty and the student body, will decide if
and how they will celebrate at their colleges.
“The health and safety of students, staff and faculty are the top priority,” Roper said.
Seniors were largely displeased with the board’s decision.
“They’re breaking…students’ hearts with this. Especially first- generation students. We looked forward to that. That walk has been our motivation for the past four years, and to have it taken from us because of the possibility that this virus will still be around [would be] heartbreaking,” senior Amara Watters said.
Senior UNCP student Jeremiah Kelly was disappointed with the board failing to mandate that schools reschedule graduations for a later date.
Student Government Association representatives have informally
polled students about options for having graduation in the Summer or to combine with December graduates.
“Multiple universities do Summer commencement,” Kelly said.
Stasia Maddox, a senior psychology major, suggested that the university commence students by department and allow family to livestream the events to keep crowds small, but maintain the tradition.
Students also feel that some of the meaning behind their hard work would be taken away without a graduation celebration.
“I’m literally heartbroken right now. My Bachelor’s in Psychology means the world to me. I went through hell and back mentally and physically. It just wouldn’t feel the same if I won’t have the celebration I deserve,” Maddox said.
Kelly echoed the sentiment and outlined the adversity he fought through to reach the point where he could graduate.
“From being a transfer student to being a young parent to fighting against academic probation to fighting and overcoming collegiate depression to knowing my aunt would not be able to make my graduation because she passed…
I wanted to finish [school] for her. Without this moment the story [would] forever feel unfinished,” he said.