Uni of Lincoln is offering 2020 grads a virtual graduation in September
‘All students eligible will be able to graduate in the manner of their choosing’
The University of Lincoln has announced its plans for graduation for those in the classes of 2020 and 2021.
Last year, the university postponed the September graduation ceremonies for 2020 grads due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and were set to take place in April of this year, however, their plans have changed.
The university is set to have a virtual graduation in September of this year as “continuing to wait is not an option for everyone”. They are planning “a series of fantastic virtual graduation ceremonies for September this year”. The virtual graduation will allow students to “celebrate their special day”.
The university’s gown supplier will allow students to hire a cap and gown for the occasion and students can choose to appear live on-screen or just have their name read out.
However, the university offered students the chance to graduate in person in April 2022, with students being able to register on a “first-come, first-served basis.” In an email, they said: “If you would prefer to wait for when the University may be able to hold a physical graduation ceremony, Government guidance permitting, you can do so.
“We are provisionally hoping that this may be possible in April 2022. When we are closer to the date and have more information, students will be able to register to attend on a first-come, first-served basis once bookings open.”
The Lincoln Tab understands that the university has 12,000 students to graduate and if students wish to graduate in person, they can do so
Students at the university have started a petition on Change.org to “Reconsider the graduation arrangements for the classes of 2020 and 2021.” At the time of writing, the petition has reached 2,580 signatures.
The petition says: “The classes of 2020 and 2021 have worked hard, studied and succeeded throughout the global pandemic that is Covid-19. We have endured turmoil by having lectures cancelled, teaching hours slashed, quarantine restrictions implemented and climaxing with a full national lockdown, abruptly ending our University experience.
“We have continued to support the University of Lincoln throughout the pandemic, including the reduction of face-to-face tutoring, the lack of essential learning resources, being encouraged to take on student housing and having to complete end-of-year exams from home.
“We at least deserve a proper graduation that is accessible to all, especially after the turbulence of 2020 going into 2021.
“After a minimal amount of students received the University’s most updated plans on the 25/04/2021, the announcement suggested that all graduation ceremonies will be held in April 2022, on a ‘first-come-first-serve basis’.
“We, as a student body, believe this is outrageous. Events such as Quack can be held and promoted by the University in accordance with Government guidelines, however, our graduation ceremonies cannot.”
The petition is asking for an earlier provisional date than that of April 2022, which would still fall in line with Government guidelines. Some students will be graduating “21 months after officially leaving university” if they were to wait until next April. They are also asking for a review of the first-come, first-served basis on bookings, as “students should be guaranteed a place at a physical graduation and family members are able to purchase tickets to celebrate the achievement alongside them.”
They also requested the date for the class of 2021 to not be pushed back further, as “all students within the 2021 cohort should also be guaranteed a place in the graduation ceremonies.”
Their requests fall within the guidelines set out by the Government, where after June 21st 2021, all legal limits on social contact will be removed.
Elise Fischer, who began the petition told the Lincoln Tab: “It’s just utterly heartbreaking really. The classes of 2020 and 2021 alike have had to endure the worst of the pandemic in their University lives, and having been promised a full graduation from the University, we were all holding on to the idea of it.
“Knowing it’ll be on a first-come, first-served basis and almost two years later from when some of us have graduated is devastating. Even more so when events as such as ‘The Lincoln Summer Festival’ and Quack and planned to go ahead, it’s as if we’ve been pushed to the back of the line!
“I’m really hoping the petition will spark a change from the University to make them realise they have made a wrong decision and need to rectify it!”
The University of Lincoln’s Students’ Union posted on social media and confirmed they did not support the offering of the virtual ceremony or the in-person graduation to be ticketed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Lincoln SU said: “During the pandemic, the Students’ Union has been involved in some meetings about potential Graduation ceremony options, where the SU has strongly stated the importance of an in-person Graduation ceremony for 2020 and 2021 graduates, held in Lincoln Cathedral or elsewhere.”
The student leaders are planning to take the issue up with the university “at the earliest opportunity”.
A spokesperson for the University of Lincoln 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.
“In the first instance, we are surveying eligible students to get an understanding of how many will want to graduate at either a virtual or physical ceremony. 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.”