Move date of Penn Commencement to be accessible for all

Move date of Penn Commencement to be accessible for all

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Simcha Stadlan started this petition to Penn Administration

Penn believes in creating an inclusive space for all its students.

Penn’s decision last week to host a partially in-person commencement on May 17 – the same day as the Jewish holiday Shavuot – poses numerous difficulties and complications to Orthodox students and families, resulting in a commencement ceremony that is far from equitable.

The commencement ceremony on May 17 will force graduating students who practice Orthodox Judaism to choose between attending sacred religious festivities and attending their once-in-a-lifetime college commencement ceremony. Even the students who choose to skip religious services and attend the in-person commencement will face numerous technical and experiential challenges at the ceremony. Many observant Orthodox Jews refrain from using technology on holidays, a religious observance that will certainly be difficult to maintain in the setting of commencement. Moreover, with religious practice preventing the use of computers, families and graduating students not on campus will not be able to join virtually, entirely missing commencement simply because they are observant Orthodox Jews.

The University’s decision to set commencement on the same day as a holiday that over forty graduating seniors celebrate is a direct violation of their own stated goals in the Penn Compact 2022, which lists inclusion as one of its three primary aims, alongside innovation and impact.

The solution is simple: Penn can move the date of commencement to a date that does not conflict with a holiday. Even by moving commencement just a single day earlier, the University could correct the situation and accommodate Orthodox Jewish students. By leaving commencement on its currently scheduled date, Penn will essentially be mandating an event that is less accessible to some students simply because of their religious affiliations.

Read the full Op-Ed in the Daily Pennsylvanian: https://www.thedp.com/article/2021/03/upenn-commencement-shavuot-jewish-holiday

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!