The University of Colorado Boulder will cancel all commencement ceremonies in May for graduating students in a move to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“We deeply regret the cancellation of our in-person celebration of our graduates and their achievements, and we thank you once again for your understanding, patience and citizenship during this challenging time,” said CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano in an email Wednesday.
The cancelation extends to all school, college and department recognition ceremonies, including its general commencement at Folsom Field. The decision comes after recent federal and state bans on large public gatherings, which DiStefano said is to ensure that staff, faculty, students and their families “remain safe and healthy.”
The spring 2020 commencement was scheduled to take place May 7 at 8:30 a.m. at Folsom Field. Dan Carlin, host of the popular podcast Hardcore History, was slated as the event’s speaker.
The university is exploring virtual options to celebrate students remotely according to CU Boulder spokesperson Joshua Lindenstein.
Alejandra Wilcox, a journalism master’s student graduating in May, said she is “disappointed but unsurprised” by the university’s decision to cancel ceremonies.
“People’s lives are more important, I’m glad they’re prioritizing health and safety,” she said. “I’m saddest for graduating seniors. I’ve already had the experience of a higher education graduation ceremony and it was pretty special. I hope the university finds other ways to celebrate the class of 2020 once the pandemic has been contained.”
An online petition started by CU Boulder senior Isabella Shelby to postpone the May 7 event has garnered over 2,000 signatures.
The petition requests the following:
- Postpone graduation to a time in the late summer when the imminent danger of COVID-19 subsides
- If a summer ceremony is unrealistic, expand the winter 2020 ceremonies and allow spring graduates to walk in December
“College graduation is a once in a lifetime event. Graduation commemorates years of hard work, personal growth, and contributions to our Boulder community. Many of us will be the first in our families to graduate,” the petition reads. “Although the current situation leaves us with many unknowns about the future, we can mitigate difficulties around graduation plans by setting a later date.”
Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Noelle Videon at firstname.lastname@example.org.