Virtual graduation ceremonies simply aren’t the same

Graphic of an online graduation commencement ceremony. Photo courtesy

As COVID-19 runs rampant throughout America it continues to steal opportunities from those whodeserve them the most. With the end of the semester approaching many seniors are anticipating their well-deserved graduation that they have worked years for, only to be let down by the effects of the pandemic.

Following the transition from an in-person graduation to a virtual graduation in May, many students impatiently anticipated FAMU’s decision on whether an in-person ceremony will be held in December.

On Oct. 19, FAMU INFO released an email to students of Florida Agriculture & Mechanical University providing steps and information on how to properly prepare and apply for a virtual commencement ceremony.

Many students and alumni were disappointed by this news and feel as though they have missed out on a crucial chapter to closing out their true FAMU experience.

Details on when FAMU’s Fall 2020 virtual commencement will be held. Photo courtesy FAMU INFO

Twitter user and FAMU alumnus @AyeYoJay_1 tweeted, “Famu is killing me without graduation. I used to dream of sitting on that back row with the grad students.”

This announcement has sparked conversation among students and families as to why an in-person graduation that strictly follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines is unable to be held.

Similarly to FAMU, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College and other universities in the state of Florida are preparing for a virtual commencement ceremony in order to prevent the spreading of COVID-19.

However, this announcement has caused a finger-pointing discussion as to why various large-scale events around the country are able to be held, but not a graduation.

Twitter user and FAMU student @Kvngjw_ tweeted, “People can have rallies, full capacity football games, and packed out clubs. But we cannot have a lil ole graduation?”

As graduation approaches many events that violate the CDC’s guidelines are being held — especially on weekends. From presidential rallies hosted by Donald Trump to a packed football stadium in Tallahassee.

On the other hand, some students understand and commend universities for having an online commencement during a pandemic. Dalik King,an FSU student, expected to graduate this semester but he said he understands the importance of safety.

“To be honest it is a little disappointing but I understand the situation, disappointing in the way that I won’t be able to see my family in the crowd like I’d hope to but I understand what the university has to do to ensure the safety of their students,” King said.

FAMU’s Fall 2020 virtual commencement ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 12.