USYD: Give Us Our Graduation Back!

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In the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, the University of Sydney has taken measures to reduce the spread of the virus*. However, the university has made the extreme decision to cancel student graduations in March-April 2020, forcing students to graduate in absentia, meaning testamurs are to be sent to graduating students in the mail, and will not receive a graduation ceremony. 

Whilst such a decision is an attempt to protect the wellbeing and safety of students, families and teaching staff, based of correspondence with many students, the university is currently not planning on rescheduling these graduation ceremonies to a later date. The only ‘solution’ that the university has provided, is for students to attend a ceremony later in the year – in another faculty’s graduation. This means that students will not graduate within their own faculty amongst their peers and friends, and there is no guarantee that everyone who has been forced to graduate in absentia, will receive a spot at a future graduation ceremony due to limited space available.

Whilst students acknowledge that this decision has been made in accordance with Government and World Health Organisation recommendations, the outright cancellation of graduation ceremonies with no prospect of rescheduling, is a callous decision. For students to undergo years of study at this institution, and to not have an opportunity for a final celebration and farewell, is a poor outcome for years of hard work and dedication.

We are requesting that the university overturn this decision and to do everything in their power to postpone and reschedule graduation ceremonies to a later date, when hopefully COVID-19 is contained.

*Please note that as of March 15th the university has not cancelled on-campus classes, despite their decision in regards to graduation ceremonies.