University College Dublin (UCD) will hold “in-person” celebration ceremonies for students whose degrees have been conferred virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an announcement by the UCD Students’ Union (SU).
On Friday morning, the UCD SU reported that following a “productive meeting” between the SU and the President of UCD, Professor Andrew Deeks, UCD will organise physical graduation celebrations for students on campus. These events will be held in addition to the remote conferring ceremonies taking place later this year.
However, according to the SU, there is “no set time-frame” in which these ceremonies will occur; saying that the celebrations will take place “when it is safe to do so”. The SU forewarned that these celebrations “could be as far off as next summer”.
Speaking to the College Tribune, a number of students have displayed mixed reactions to UCD’s plans to try to compensate for the cancelled in-person ceremonies.
One recent graduate of UCD welcomed the SU’s announcement, saying – “I think it’s a great idea and a good alternative with the situation at hand”.
Meanwhile, Luke, a BA graduate, conveyed mixed views on the university’s efforts concerning the organisation of graduations: “I would hope they would value our time at UCD enough to organise something in the future to return and celebrate accordingly as I feel like we put so much of our time into our degree and life at UCD … a virtual acknowledgement is not enough”.
He expressed frustration at the university’s decision to scrap in-person graduations in the first place, labelling the decision to cancel them as “disappointing”.
“I think it’s definitely disappointing knowing after all the years of hard work, we won’t be able to celebrate it appropriately. As nice as having a grad option is virtually, for most it just won’t have the same effect. I was hoping they would delay the real graduation until a safe time”, he told the College Tribune.
Graduation ceremonies traditionally take place in O’Reilly Hall which, at full seating capacity, can cater to approximately 1000 people.
As it stands, current COVID-19 government guidelines permit gatherings of no more than 50 people indoors.
It remains unclear what these celebrations will compose of or how UCD plans to coordinate these ceremonies on campus, particularly given the uncertainty surrounding future COVID-19 public health advice.
The College Tribune attempted to contact the UCD Conferring Unit for further information but has not received anything at the time of publishing.
Nessa Collins – Assistant News Editor