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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Administration

Petition to hold in-person graduation commencement started by students


UH will not be holding an in-person graduation commencement ceremony for 2020 graduates. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

UH will not be holding an in-person graduation commencement ceremony for 2020 graduates. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

A petition demanding UH to hold in-person commencement ceremonies for Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 graduates has earned over 500 student signatures since the start of November.

The petition reasons that if the University can hold football games on campus, then graduation ceremonies can be held for these graduates.

“I created the petition because it was an elephant in the room … Well in this case, a cougar,” said kinesiology junior Kenneth Davis III. “There were rising concerns from students because it seems like UH has football games as a priority over graduations.”

Davis as an Undergraduate-At-Large senator for the Student Government Association is trying to use the petition as a way to show the students backing this idea to his administration.

“The petition is the first step to show the increasing numbers of students that are in support of this cause because numbers are what the administration is going to pay attention to,” Davis said.

“The second step is to have a town hall with the administration in efforts to further understand why socially distanced graduations are not presented as an option,” Davis added.

This week, President Renu Khator revealed the plans for commencement ceremonies.

“After thoughtful consideration, we have decided to hold a virtual commencement ceremony for 2020 graduates on Dec. 17,” Khator said.

Khator listed the reasons behind this decision to be rising COVID-19 cases across the nation. In defense of the football games held in-person, they are able to be cancelled last minute, whereas graduations cannot be jeopardized, Khator said.

Davis said graduation meant different things for different people, such as first generation college students and international students.

“Commencement ceremonies serves as a tradition and once in a lifetime opportunity for all students. Many of which are first generation college students and international students who came to attend college for a better life,” Davis said.

“So when UH announced virtual graduations for our graduates, it seemed like they showed a disregard for our students that invested their hopes and dreams for four plus years.”

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