Postpone Berklee College of Music's 2020 Commencement Concert and Ceremony

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To the Berklee College of Music administration,

As universities across the state of Massachusetts and the country continue to face the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, Berklee's Class of 2020 graduating students are left now with the decision made by the administration to have a virtual commencement concert and ceremony. We appreciate the administration’s tireless efforts and careful consideration to determine the best course of action for the events. However, we are asking the Berklee administration to reconsider their decision and postpone its 2020 commencement ceremonies, as opposed to holding a virtual concert on May 8th and ceremony on May 9th, with five in-person ceremonies and receptions on campus in the fall semester. 

We believe the Class of 2020 graduating students deserve the opportunity not only to celebrate their accomplishments, but to do so with their family, friends, and loved ones, in the same way that every other class before them has had the opportunity to experience. 

Commencement, without a doubt, provides an opportunity for graduates to celebrate their academic, personal, and musical achievements, and relish the results of their 4+ years of hard work. An in person commencement ceremony would allow graduates an opportunity for closure, reflection, and celebration.

As we are grateful to have technology that allows us to hold a virtual concert and ceremony, Berklee commencement ceremonies are unique from other schools due to the elaborate musical performances involving the students, faculty, and honorary doctorate recipients. We feel that this experience would not be able to be recreated virtually in a way that holds up to Berklee's excellent standards, and that the graduating students truly deserve.

Moreover, graduation also allows the opportunity for us students, to recognize the people who got us here. Our Berklee education is an investment, quite literally, given Berklee’s tuition; and we recognize that no student is able to get to graduation alone. Graduation is a moment in which many of us recognize, thank, and celebrate our families, friends, and loved ones. Those who were our support networks are vital to our Berklee experiences, and we, graduates, deserve this opportunity to honor them. 

We recognize the administration's willingness to accommodate students' needs in handling the fallout of the coronavirus health crisis. We ask the administration to take it one step further by postponing, rather than shifting the commencement concert and ceremony online.

For the past 4+ years, Berklee  has been our home and our community. Now, we ask you to honor that sense of home and community by allowing us the opportunity to come together one last time in celebration of our achievements and the people who have supported us through this rollercoaster of a journey in a true Berklee fashion. Whether the class of 2020 holds its commencement concert and ceremony in late summer 2020, fall 2020, or even spring 2021, we believe it is worthwhile. 

Thank you for your consideration.

-Berklee College of Music Class of 2020 

(Thanks to Providence College Class of 2020 for inspiring us to write this petition with your own. We admire your efforts and wish you all the best!)