Calling Loyola University Chicago to Live Stream 2021 Commencement Ceremonies

Calling Loyola University Chicago to Live Stream 2021 Commencement Ceremonies

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Catherine Spencer a lancé cette pétition adressée à Loyola University Chicago Commencement Steering Committee

In early November 2020, Loyola University Chicago students were notified of the University's decision to hold the 2021 commencement ceremonies virtually. Many students were disappointed by a decision that seemed premature and didn’t involve any input from graduating seniors. The University has since surveyed graduating seniors for their input on the commencement celebrations. Due to the current health situation as well as city and state guidelines, we understand that an in-person graduation will not be feasible and support the University's decision on this matter. However, what Loyola has planned in terms of an online graduation is nothing more than a pre-recorded video that becomes available at 8am on the day of each school's ceremony. According to the posted schedule, 2021 Commencement will not be a live event. 

Holding commencement ceremonies online already takes away much of what graduation is meant to be: walking across the stage, shaking hands, and being surrounded by the faces of loved ones and of the university community. But a "graduation" that is not even celebrated live seems to take away everything else. Graduation is an event that a community celebrates together: with classmates, friends, family, and the university community as a whole. It is something you attend together, not something you watch alone. If it is conducted online, a commencement ceremony that is streamed live is still meaningful in how it engages and unites a community, despite the distance. 

Graduates expect that a ceremony honoring their hard work and achievements over four years will be a worthy occasion. But a simple video to be watched whenever or if one pleases feels thoughtless, and is certainly not a worthy occasion. Loyola's plan for graduation will not feel like a graduation at all. Reduced to a pre-recorded video, a commencement ceremony loses its charm and its value. The past year has been isolating enough, and instead of fostering community, this plan further isolates us.  

Last year, Loyola University Chicago held live commencement ceremonies for 2020 graduates via Zoom and encountered some technical difficulties. We do not believe however that risk of technical difficulties is reason enough to deprive graduates of a live ceremony. There are many platforms other than Zoom that could be used successfully, such as a YouTube live stream. It is also true that many graduates will be in different time zones, making it hard or impossible for some to attend live at a specific time. This is also a valid argument, but it still should not mean there is no live ceremony at all. For those who cannot or do not wish to participate live, the ceremony can always be available for later viewing.  A live broadcast most closely replicates the traditional graduation experience, and offers Loyola seniors the ability to come together as a class one last time, wherever we may be.

We appreciate all that the University has done and will continue to do to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and keep students and faculty safe. We know that a virtual commencement is not what everyone hoped for. We are simply asking for a more memorable, meaningful format of events with the opportunity to attend these ceremonies live.

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