Students express concerns over virtual commencement

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Jason Halley

Some students don't believe the virtual commencement is enough of a celebration.

As the virtual commencement ceremony for Class of 2020 nears, students have expressed concerns over the event. 

The commencement, which will be held on May 15, will be an online celebration of the Class of 2020 graduates. These grads have been asked to personalize a Marching Order slide that will appear during the ceremony. Some students don’t believe that this is enough of a celebration.

Chico State senior and construction management major Dalton Gavriloff, is disappointed that his family will not see him cross the graduation stage.

“Waking up to an email that our graduation would be cancelled and transitioned to what’s essentially just a PowerPoint felt kind of like a kick to the chest,” Gavriloff said. “For four years, myself and many others have worked so hard to get to this point.”

Gavriloff agrees that the university should take precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19, but that a decision was made too quickly. 

“I feel like the decision was super rushed when there was still a possibility to reschedule sometime this year,” Gavriloff said. “Obviously at this point there’s no way of knowing if that rescheduling is even a possibility, but we’ll never know now with how quick Chico State decided to take away our graduation.”

This is feedback that Rachel Simmons, a Marketing and Communication coordinator with University Public Engagement, expected following the announcement for an online commencement.

“As someone on the team that puts this event together, I was sad that we are unable to do this event at this time, so we anticipated some of that feedback and some of that push-back,” Simmons said. 

Simmons explained why holding a commencement ceremony later in the year wasn’t possible. 

“The governor has been very clear in his press conferences that these huge large-scale public events are not in the cards for California. It will not be in California for several months to come,” she said. “We host an outdoor ceremony and each one of our ceremonies, between the graduates on the field and the friends and family in the stadium, each one of those ceremonies is about 8000 people.”

Simmons explained that an event of this size doesn’t seem plausible. 

“We can’t safely say that ‘Yes, in August we will be able to put on an event like this’ because the governor has made it very clear that he doesn’t anticipate that happening,” Simmons said.

Although an in-person commencement won’t take place students, friends and families  can watch the virtual ceremony for the Class of 2020 on May 15 at 4 p.m. 

Elijah Ewing can be reached at [email protected]