Reschedule TRU Convocation and Commencement Ceremonies

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On March 31st 2020, graduating students of Thompson Rivers University learned via email that their convocation and commencement ceremonies have been completely cancelled in light of the global pandemic resulting from COVID-19. The University is not attempting to postpone the events, instead they are offering a potential "virtual space to share messages of congratulations," and mailing our degrees. 

I am writing to express my extreme disappointment in TRU for the cancellation of this year's Convocation and asking for your support to make it clear to the school that these events can and should be rescheduled. While I understand that the extenuating circumstances surrounding COVID-19 make the June convocation impossible, certainly TRU can follow the lead of other Universities such as UBC and commit to offering a ceremony at a later, to-be-determined date. Myself and other graduating students have put YEARS of effort into receiving our degrees. We have paid thousands of dollars with the expectation that one day we will earn our right to walk across the stage and be handed our degrees. Perhaps more importantly, our families, many of which have also worked so hard to provide us the emotional and possibly financial support to reach this point, deserve to see us walk that stage. They deserve to sit in the crowd and cry tears of joy and excitement. They deserve to take photos with us in our caps and gowns. 

Fortunately for myself, this is not the end of my academic journey and I will have the chance to graduate from another university program in the future; however, for many students this is the culmination of 16+ years of academics. This is it, this was their closure and they earned this moment. That sort of satisfaction and feeling of pride does not come from opening a mailbox to find their degree. I have great memories of TRU and have nothing but good things to say about the quality of education I have received at this institution. But now, my final memory will always be that I was not given the chance to celebrate this huge milestone. This is not how I wish to remember my time at TRU.


TRU needs to step up for these students. We deserve it. It is absolutely crushing to learn by email that your university is doing absolutely nothing to ensure that you get to have that moment of pride and celebration. It is crushing to read that you may get "messages of congratulations" through a virtual platform - we can get that on our own by simply making a post on social media about our graduation. Make an effort. Plan for an alternate date. Give us the option of attending a future ceremony with other graduates. Do something. 

Sincerely,

Nicole Welsh (on behalf of many other upset and angry graduating students)