Bristol Uni reverses decision to host delayed graduation ceremonies in local football stadium

They will instead take place in the traditional Wills Memorial Building in April and July

Bristol Uni has reversed its unpopular decision to host Covid affected graduation ceremonies in a local sports stadium and instead announced they will take place in the traditional Wills Memorial Building.

Students reacted with anger earlier this month when the university website was updated to announce graduation ceremonies for graduates between July 2020 and February 2022 would take place at Ashton Gate Stadium, two miles from campus.

Over 2,500 students and parents signed the petition against the decision to move the ceremonies to a “stadium [that] is characterless, impersonal and completely irrelevant to our time at Bristol”. 

Students feared this could have been the state of their graduation photographs

Deleted webpages and U-turn

The webpages were then taken down by the university who had argued that the backlog of graduation ceremonies, 18,000 students are yet to graduate since summer 2020, meant they had to look for larger venues elsewhere in Bristol. They estimated that hosting the delayed ceremonies in spring 2022 would disrupt teaching in the Wills Memorial Building by up to four weeks.

In an email to students this morning however, Bristol Uni confirmed all delayed graduations will instead now take place in the Wills Memorial Building split between next April and July.

A Bristol Uni spokesperson said: “We’d like to thank our graduating students for their patience while we have been working on plans for the graduation ceremonies we’ve had to put on hold over the last 18 months due to the pandemic.

“We know how important it is to get this right for our whole university community and have been actively looking at options to host ceremonies at other venues in the city due to the high numbers of students who are eligible to graduate.

“However, what has been made really clear is how important a graduation in the iconic Wills Memorial Building is for our students, their families and supporters, and we are delighted to confirm that all ceremonies will now take place on campus during April and July next year.”

‘The uni actually listened to us’

The reversal from the university is a real win for students, who in the space of three weeks have undone months of planning to host graduation ceremonies at Ashton Gate.

Ben, a recent Masters graduate said: “I’m relieved and delighted that the university has listened to students and reversed its decision.

“It’s been very upsetting watching students at other universities have traditional ceremonies over the summer, so I’m really happy that we’ll be able to have one too in the proud Bristol tradition.”

Nicola, who graduated last summer added: “I’m really pleased the uni actually listened to us!”

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