Students at Bishop Grosseteste University saw their dreams of a traditional graduation ended by the news that this year’s face-to-face celebrations at Lincoln Cathedral have been cancelled.
In an email to students seen by The Lincolnite it stated that the Vice Chancellor ‘weighed up all the evidence and the risks involved’, and based on the outcome of the Health Secretary’s recent statement took the decision to change their graduation plans.
However, the university said it is committed to running a free-of-charge event for all students, but the format of this has yet to be decided.
This means the university will revert to online graduation ceremonies. They will take place on July 19-20 for students who have completed their courses in 2020, and on July 21-22 for those graduating in 2021.
Student Bobbie Brader has launched a petition via change.org, which has so far been signed by over 500 people in an attempt to convince the university to change its mind.
On the page, Bobbie said: “BGU’s graduation for 2020 and 2021 graduates has been cancelled even though it is planned for the July 19-22. This is unfair, as the Prime Minister in yesterday’s (Monday, June 28) announcement said that things such as this could go ahead.
“Let’s get signatures that I can show to the university to let them have our graduations. Even if it’s slightly altered than the traditional graduation to allow for less risks.”
Those signing the petition were left feeling very frustrated, including Paul Bennett who said: “Haven’t students missed out on enough over the last year and a half? Don’t take this away too.”
Tim Hills said: “If 60,000 fans can be in Wembley surely you can make arrangements for your students to have a proper graduation after all their hard work!”
A spokesperson for Bishop Grosseteste University said: “We share the disappointment and frustration of students as our goal has always been to run a physical ceremony to celebrate their achievements.
“Monday’s announcement from the Government did not provide a definitive confirmation that July 19 will be the date for lifting of all remaining restrictions. In an attempt to clarify this position, the university sought the opinion of our local Public Health teams.
“This consultation showed rising cases across the county, and that it would not be possible to hold an event as planned without causing a major risk of increased COVID cases. We have to put the safety of all those involved in the ceremonies first, this includes students, staff and our wider local community.
“We have investigated all alternative options to enable us to run an in-person event. Unfortunately, graduation ceremonies have not, as yet, been granted the same pilot status as sporting events and music festivals.
“Additionally, there are limited windows in the year when the Cathedral is available, particularly for multiple days in a row as graduation requires. Similarly, running a solely outdoor event is not possible due to the potential for wet weather.
“We will be liaising with the Students’ Union throughout the process and are fully aware of the desire of students to have an in-person celebration. It is for this reason that the university has committed to running a free-of-charge event for all students who have been disappointed by this decision. The format of the event has yet to be decided but will be designed in conjunction with the Students’ Union.
“Although this is not the form of ceremony that any of us would have originally chosen, this will give our students the opportunity to celebrate their achievements with friends and family safely.”