In Person Graduation: Too Much Too Soon?

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For just about every college student, graduation is the big day. It’s what they've been looking forward to for years and years. With the pandemic, many students were stuck wondering how IUPUI would handle the ceremony in May. 

Although graduation last year was virtual, the downturn in COVID-19 cases, along with the vaccine, left the student body divided on whether or not an in person ceremony would be a good idea. 

IUPUI officially stated that May 2021 graduation would be held in person-with some exceptions. Only graduates are allowed at the ceremony, no family, or friends. For them, a Zoom link would be provided. This left many with mixed feelings, and a lot of questions. 

Senior Arriana Rainwater was left feeling a bit conflicted, saying “as a restaurant worker downtown, I have seen so many sports conferences being held over the past few weeks with 1,000s of people. I don’t see why graduation is any different.” She was happy to hear that graduation would be in person, but felt it was odd that friends and family would not be able to attend.

On IUPUI’s commencement FAQ page, they stated that “The scale of these events makes hosting in-person ceremonies for graduates only, while guests join virtually, the best way to ensure the safety of our students and campuses.” IUPUI said that the decision was made in close consultation with the Medical Response Team, which helped guide their COVID-19 response over the past year. 

Other students have not been hesitant to express their disappointment, however. Jaycie Kemp, a journalism student who graduated in December, said “I personally don’t plan on attending in-person graduation. I think it’s a bit irresponsible considering our current circumstances. Though I understand the university has good intentions, I think it’s too early to hold an event like this right now. Even though audience members aren’t allowed, there are still many, many graduates and I just don’t think any of this is a good idea.” 

While students understand the difficulty of this year, of course, she says that even offering in person classes was extremely unnecessary.

IUPUI faculty sticks to the decision, though. Samantha Walters, an advisor for the school, reported that she is confident that the celebration will be a “fun and safe event for students.”

Overall, there are many mixed opinions from faculty and students both. Updates will be made via IUPUI’s email list.

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