POSTPONE the Portland State University spring 2020 graduation

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Elana Goldman
Elana Goldman signed this petition

We, the students of the Spring 2020 graduating class of Portland State University (PSU) and others, wish to express our dissatisfaction with PSU’s decision to move our graduation online instead of postponing and rescheduling it. 

We fully support PSU’s decision to move all classes online to protect the safety of their students during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, we will not stand with the fact that PSU has no intention of rescheduling our graduation, with no clear input from graduating students themselves or faculty. They have instead made it clear that this decision would be made for us, not with us. 

“Portland State University’s mission is to serve the community and that is more important now than ever.” PSU wrote in their cancellation email to graduating students but their actions say otherwise. If PSU truly cared about serving the community, they would have worked with PSU students and the PSU community to make this decision. Instead, they went with their own private interests as an institution- against the wishes of students. 

Most PSU students have waited 4+ years of hard and resilient work for the opportunity to walk across the stage. Most of us work 2-3 jobs on top of going to school full time, raise children, are the first generation in one’s family to graduate, have moved to a new state by ourselves to get our degree. Over 2,000 students at PSU are international students from nearly 100 different countries. We know some international students will not be able to attend a postponed graduation ceremony. However, this question could be discussed through while planning the ceremony with the administration and other students. The reality is, if PSU cared about “global diversity and inclusion” as they claim to- the decision to move our commencement ceremony online would’ve been a decision made for and by ALL graduating students.

We understand that the COVID-19 virus remains at pandemic status and we are uncertain of a date that will allow us to have an in person ceremony at this time. This doesn’t matter and should be a decision from the students who are graduating. You work for us.

Our tuition increases every year and regardless of our anger and distrust in PSU we still pay it, because we are looking forward to graduation day and the celebration. Every year, we get less and less for our money. We urge Portland State University to care about its students, provide what was promised to us, and not treat us as an after-thought during this global pandemic. We pour millions into this school and quite reasonably, we expect what we were promised.

We are demanding that PSU:

1.  Postpone and reschedule our commencement.

2.  NOT hold our commencement online.

3.  Ensure that the graduating class of Spring 2020 will have a part in the decision making process ESPECIALLY the decision to choose a new date.

4.  Give the graduating class of Spring 2020 continual updates about the planning process of commencement during this pandemic proving we are not merely an afterthought. 

5. Work with the international graduating student community who may not be able to attend a postponed graduation ceremony. Listen and work with them.