Durham summer congregation cancelled with no immediate plans to reschedule

An email sent this morning promises to consider ‘other ways of marking the occasion’

An email sent to both undergraduate and postgraduate students this morning with a COVID-19 update has announced that the congregation ceremonies planned for summer 2020 will not be going ahead.

The email, sent by Pro Vice Chancellor (Global), Claire O’ Malley, reads: “We know that many of you have been anxious about your graduation and we wish to reassure you that the awarding of degrees will happen this summer. Unfortunately, Congregation – the formal ceremony which takes place in the Cathedral – will not be able to take place this summer as planned”.

She adds: “The decision to cancel Congregation has therefore been an extremely difficult one from a community aspect, though obviously a clear one from a health and safety point of view”.

The email does not suggest the rescheduling of an identical ceremony at a later date, stating: “Next term, one of our priorities will be to identify other ways of marking the occasion that are appropriate to the times and we will keep you updated on these plans”.

News of the cancellation comes just a day after it was announced that all teaching for Easter term would be moved online, and that students should not return to Durham after the vacation. More details on teaching and examinations for next term are expected to follow.

A third year student at Trevelyan College, who is due to graduate this summer, told The Tab Durham: “Congregation was supposed to be a happy end to the year- it was one of the only things I was excited for.

“Among all this stress about COVID-19 and completely unknown formats for our exams, it would have been nice to know we have graduation to look forward to, and meet with all our friends again- something positive”.