Soton student creates petition for the uni to reconsider postponing 2021 graduation

The university announced last week that this year’s graduation ceremonies would be postponed

A petition has been made asking the University of Southampton to reconsider postponing graduation ceremonies in 2021, following the government’s announcement that all coronavirus restrictions could be lifted by 21st June.

Last week, the university emailed students to inform them that this year’s graduation ceremonies will not go ahead due to the pandemic. 

They said: “Given the current circumstances, we regret to inform you that Graduation will not be taking place in July and has been postponed until further notice.”

The university also said that it plans “to run online celebrations during late summer or autumn” and that it will hold in-person ceremonies when it is safe to do so.

The petition says: “As graduation was initially planned for the 14th- 23rd July, we urge the University of Southampton to reconsider their plans. There will be plenty of opportunity to consider the situation alongside the five week incremental reviews by the government.

“As is the case for all university students, Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the student experience and we need the ability to celebrate our successes by way of the Graduation Ceremony.”

Students have expressed disappointment with the university’s decision. Students have cited confusion as to why the university has made the decision this early on, with one student telling the Soton Tab: “Everything changes very quickly. With the vaccine rollout going well I don’t understand why they couldn’t have waited until April to decide.”

On Tuesday, a University of Southampton spokesperson confirmed to the Soton Tab that graduation ceremonies would still be postponed this year despite the government announcement.

The spokesperson said:

“Following the announcement of the government’s roadmap for easing current Covid-19 restrictions, we continue to plan for a safe, gradual return to campus for our students and staff. This will take place over an extended period, with the utmost care taken to ensure our campuses are Covid-secure.”

The university regrets having to postponed graduation but said: “Graduation is a complex event requiring a great deal of planning in advance.

“Ensuring it is held safely is a top priority and while it is hoped under government plans that larger social gatherings may be possible by late June, there are many targets to be met before then and we do not have confirmation that social distancing will not be a feature of the ongoing restrictions, which would have the effect of reducing capacity significantly.”

You can sign the petition here

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