During freshman convocation, students were told the university would be there for them when they needed it. No matter if it took four years, five years or more, the university would be so proud to announce your name at commencement.
It’s clear a commencement ceremony cannot happen under the current health orders put in place, but CWU needs to stand behind the senior class of 2020. When the health orders are lifted, CWU must honor its graduating class with an in-person commencement ceremony.
Seniors will not get to spend their last three months of college surrounded by friends. They won’t get to attend grad kick off or award ceremonies. For some, their final quarter of college will be spent in a bedroom, trying to figure out how to complete online courses for the very first time, just in order to graduate.
CWU should not hijack such a monumental day from students.
As a first generation college graduate who should graduate Summa Cum Laude (3.9-4.0 GPA), it’s deeply disappointing that the university would outright cancel such an event instead of postponing it. The health order cited for the cancellation of commencement doesn’t say events can’t be postponed or rescheduled.
While the university has said it’s looking into ways to still honor graduates, anything less than postponing the in-person ceremony is not good enough. Washington State University has scheduled a virtual graduation ceremony in May and two possible dates for in-person ceremonies. CWU should follow suit.
The Associated Students of the University of Washington at Bothell (ASUWB) sent out a survey to students asking their preference about commencement plans. The survey listed different possibilities for commencement, making students a part of the process, a brilliant and respectable way to handle the situation.
CWU should be more like ASUWB and send out a survey to graduating seniors, requesting input and preference. How can such a decision be made without the voices of students being involved?
Even though commencement is a year-long planned event and there are dozens of small details, the university should continue to plan for it, even in such uncertain times. The university has said if a commencement ceremony is planned last minute, it won’t be as extravagant.
But seniors don’t need big-name speakers at commencement. We need an opportunity, when it’s safe, to walk across a stage and hear our names be called, loud and proud for our friends and families.
We’ve earned it.