Give the Emerson Class of 2020 an In-Person Graduation!

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In a statement released yesterday, President Lee Pelton announced that Emerson College's 2020 Commencement activities will be postponed indefinitely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement included several alternatives to the scheduled Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement Weekend, including vague plans for a "virtual ceremony" close to the original May 9th and 10th dates, as well as a "consideration" for an in-person event in the fall. However, it provides no solidified details on either event, nor does it promise a tantamount in-person ceremony to be held at a specified later date.

We demand that the College and President commit to rescheduling in-person Commencement ceremonies and activities in their full capacities so that the class(es) of 2020 may celebrate their achievements as an entire community to close out this chapter of our lives and academic careers. We ask for a target date near the end of summer to accommodate students who may be moving and starting jobs come fall; however, we defer to the College to schedule a date in accordance with local and federal mandates for social distancing and public gatherings to ensure the health and safety of our communities. Furthermore, we ask that the College come forth with its plans for the accompanying senior week activities and the funds allocated by the SGA to the Class of 2020 for those events.

Lastly, we ask the College to include student voices in its decision-making processes regarding a postponed commencement. As commencement is our time for celebrating our achievements, we should be consulted when the College makes decisions about changing plans for commencement.

While we understand that the unprecedented COVID-19 necessitates a reduction in public gatherings for the health and safety of our local and global communities, we hope that Emerson can move forward with rescheduling this momentous event for its student body. We know – and have deeply felt – the anxiety and uncertainty of our current moment. Please give us the reassurance that we will have an in-person commencement when it is safe to do so

This petition is a consolidation of the original letter linked to this petition here. It will be delivered to President Pelton and the Emerson administration on behalf of the members of the Class of 2020, as well as our families and friends.



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