Graduating seniors regret commencement cancellation

Photo courtesy HBCU Lifestyles

In the midst of FAMU’s closures and cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, soon-to-be spring graduates will miss out on a major milestone. The university’s commencement ceremonies, set for May t and 2, have been postponed, according to President Larry Robinson’s recent letter to FAMU students, faculty, staff and friends in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

First generation psychology student Nakia Grant is sad to see all of the years of hard work conclude without a traditional commencement ceremony.

“This degree took four years, and the day to celebrate it is gone,” Grant said. “This hurts because I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life and it just got canceled within days. Like how does one graduate virtually? It doesn’t even make sense,” she said.

On March 21 students were first informed through FAMUINFO that the spring commencement would be conducted remotely with discussions of a possible traditional ceremony to be held at a later time. Aside from the ceremony itself, students are concerned about the lack of information about their caps and gowns.

“They need to send out an email about what we should do about cap and gowns because I haven’t received any information,” Grant said.

Recent updates regarding the Spring 2020 commencement ceremony were included in Robinson’s video update informing students that despite the event’s postponement, other options for their commencement ceremony will be explored.

“We are exploring options for a virtual commencement ceremony and will share those plans once completed. We are also considering an in-person ceremony after the health crisis has passed. However, this year’s in-person commencement exercises at Florida A&M University are postponed until alternative plans have been finalized,” Robinson wrote.

Nonetheless, political science student Bryan Llerandi remains positive and believes that FAMU had no control over this decision.

“The CDC banned all gatherings with over 10 people so I really don’t have a reason to be mad at FAMU,” Llerandi said. “I had friends and family traveling 7-8 hours from Miami to come support me on May 2 and at first I was upset but it is what it is.”

According to the Florida Department of Health, Leon County confirmed 72 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, none of which were reported to be FAMU students. Students are encouraged to remain under the stay-at-home order guidelines to further prevent the spread of the virus.