The University of London postpone graduation due to Coronavirus

Students are yet to get a new date for the ceremony

The University of London has decided to postpone the graduation ceremony for students of their distance and flexible learning programmes which was scheduled to take place on the 3rd of March at the Barbican Centre due to the coronavirus.

Students are yet to be given a new date for the ceremony.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor of University of London, Chris Cobb gave a statement saying: "We have taken the difficult decision to postpone the event due to the ongoing coronavirus issue.

"We truly regret the inconvenience caused but, after careful consideration, we felt it important to minimise the risk to our students and their guests."

"This event is different to many others due to the large numbers of attendees travelling from affected regions and the potential impact it may have on others attending and travelling back to regions which are currently unaffected."

Around 4,000 attendees from over 100 countries were scheduled to attend the ceremony which included the international student community of the university and their family and friends flying to London from their homes.

The University has stated that all graduating students who had purchased guest tickets for the graduation ceremony would be eligible for a refund and would be done automatically without the necessity of a formal request.

Many of the families of the graduating students are due to fly to London this week and were informed about the cancellation only two days ago, allowing little to no time to cancel flights and hotel reservations.

Some students claim that they did not receive any emails about this decision and had to learn about this disappointing news over social media.

Akarsha Weerasooriya, a law student from Colombo, Sri Lanka, got in touch with and said that students are yet to be given a new date for the ceremony and he doubts his family could be able to make the trip again.

He said: "It’s devastating , coming from this part of the world it’s not that easy going over there. Many people spent their life savings. Some people didn’t get the email on time, some people found out through Instagram."

His family spent £6,130 on visas, flights and hotels for four family members and are due to land in the capital tomorrow, meaning they don't have time to cancel or modify their plans.

His mother Nayomini, who runs a PR agency and his father, a lawyer, had to plan a year in advance to clear their busy schedules for a trip to the ceremony, due to take place at the Barbican Centre on March 3, which they would be highly unlikely to do again anytime soon.

Nayomini told Metro: "The moment my son told me I was shocked, we’re travelling tomorrow. It’s such a tragedy, it’s such a shame. My daughter is taking three weeks off her school schedule which is devastating for her but she's doing it for the graduation."

Lukas Delport, 43, a business and marketing student, also has said that he did not receive an email from the university regarding his graduation being postponed and got to know about the news from social media.

He says: "There's nothing stopping people from coming here. It doesn't really make any sense to me when people are going to travel here anyway."

Lukas fears that this problem with communication might cause some families to turn up assuming the ceremony is taking place.

People on the University of London's Instagram and Facebook pages are asking if their families would receive compensation for the travel expenses, to which the university has not responded yet.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Watch: KCL Psych Student Writes Song about Tesco Meal Deal

Boris Johnson’s brother is coming to King’s

10 things you know if you live at OLIB