We want the option of an in-person Spring Commencement in May 2021.

We want the option of an in-person Spring Commencement in May 2021.

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Gabriel Corral started this petition to Interim President of the University of Houston-Downtown Dr. Tillis and

To Interim President Dr. Tillis:

While the graduating class of Spring 21 understands the risk of gathering during a pandemic, we are petitioning against the unilateral decision to cancel our in-person Commencement ceremony. As you can imagine, the cancelation of Spring Commencement is devastating news for seniors who have dreamed of walking the stage with cap and gown since embarking on their collegiate journey. Although we fully understand and appreciate your responsibility and concern for our safety, we believe we should have a choice to responsibly attend our Commencement in person.

As the pandemic takes a toll on the world, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the ingenuity and grit of our society as we adapt to health guidelines. Our grocery stores remain open with restrictions and options for those who do not wish to enter. Movie theaters, gyms, and major sporting events have opened with restrictions and protocols. We are by no means back to normal, but we show we can do many things responsibly. We know this because many of us have been “essential” workers since the start of the pandemic.

The University of Houston-Downtown serves a diverse community, but we are mostly working-class people. Four-year degrees took many of us longer because of obligations outside of the classroom. As much of the world retreated to virtual settings, many of us have had to report to work. Yet, we persisted and sacrificed a lot to graduate. We embody “Gator Grit.”

If, while we take classes, our bosses can obligate us to report to work during a pandemic and follow protocols, our unprecedented efforts should at least afford us the decency of an option and ability to make this one decision for ourselves. Please, Dr. Tillis, grant us the choice. We respect those who want to attend virtually, but many of us want the option to responsibly attend Spring Commencement in person.

Respectfully,

 

Class of Spring 21

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