The University of Lincoln’s graduation ceremonies will be held virtually this year, but anyone wanting to graduate at Lincoln Cathedral will be given the option to do so in April 2022.
The email the university sent to students said that with the “ongoing implications of the pandemic on planning of large scale indoor events, it will not be possible for us to deliver an in-person physical graduation in 2021”.
Lincoln Cathedral, which normally has a capacity of around 350 (seated) is not available for the university’s graduation ceremonies in September this year, but anyone who wants to graduate in the iconic building will have that option next year.
It is provisionally hoped by the university that this may be possible in April 2022. It said students will be able to register to attend on “a first-come, first serve basis once bookings open”.
The university is also offering a series of virtual graduation ceremonies for September this year for anyone who would like to graduate in 2021.
Not all students happy with the plans
The move this did not go down well with everyone as over 2,800 students signed a petition asking the university to reconsider.
Students have already lost face-to-face classroom time, the chance to socialise properly with their peers, and a true university experience as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bethany Lee, who is a 2020 journalism graduate from the University of Lincoln, told The Lincolnite: “Myself and everyone I know are extremely disappointed by this, and honestly it feels like a slap in the face to both year groups.
“Graduation is one of the most important aspects of the university experience and to be told that we have to fight for a place at our own graduation is insulting.
“So many people will miss out through no fault of their own. In regards to the virtual event, I’m sure the university knows full well that the majority of students would much rather attend a physical event.
“The aspect that I find the most insulting is the blame of COVID. We can’t have the actual event this year at all, but events such as Quack, an indoor club night is being heavily promoted for June.
“If that can go ahead then why can’t graduation? The university must do better because they’ve shown a complete lack of regard for their graduates.”
A University of Lincoln spokesperson said: “As a result of the pandemic, there are many more students eligible to graduate than can be accommodated in the Cathedral under government plans for opening up this year.
“We are committed to providing a graduation ceremony for every student who wants to attend one in the way they would wish, depending on government regulations for a safe environment.
“We will be offering our first physical graduation in April 2022. If there is a massive demand for April graduation we will need to offer a later alternative and allocate places fairly.
“We hope that everyone who wants to will be able to graduate in April, but if not, they will be offered a later date for their graduation. All students eligible will be able to graduate in the manner of their choosing, either virtual or physical, subject to any government guidance.”
Meanwhile, over 90% of students are back on campus and the university hopes to return to full face-to-face teaching by September this year, depending on government guidance.