Commencement for Clark Class of 2020

Commencement for Clark Class of 2020

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Alex Denley started this petition to Clark University

In March 2020, the Clark community vacated campus in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This was an important and responsible decision on behalf of the administration. A few months later came another heartbreaking decision: the Class of 2020 commencement would be virtual. Although this was deeply saddening, it was necessary.

Thankfully today the public health landscape is changing. With the help of three FDA approved vaccines, Massachusetts has been able to get a large portion of its residents vaccinated. COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates have dropped off substantially. In light of this progress, many local colleges and universities are holding belated in-person commencements to honor their 2020 graduating classes. Clark University itself has even held its own in-person graduation for its Class of 2021.

While we as alumni are happy for our peers, we are respectfully requesting our own commencement. We are proud of what we achieved during our time at Clark and our collective resilience as we finished our degrees under duress during a global pandemic. As a result, we find it apt to request the opportunity to properly celebrate our hard-earned degrees. In particular, commencement is especially important to particular student populations who face additional barriers such as first-gen, BIPOC, disabled, and LGBTQIA+ students.

While there are countless memories that can never be made up from our final spring semester, an in-person commencement would empower us to reclaim a major milestone in our lives. As a Clark alum himself, I’m sure President Fithian cherishes his own memories of commencement and how such a tradition was integral to transitioning forth into the world. 

Please support my petition so that it comes to his attention that the Class of 2020 wants a proper commencement ceremony. Thank you. 

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