Students angry after University of Plymouth cancels graduation for a third time

Students say they understand it has been a year of unprecedented circumstances but feel they have not been fairly consulted on the decision. Credit: ITV West Country

University of Plymouth students say they are upset with how their graduation ceremonies have been dealt with.

The class of 2020 had their original ceremony date moved from September 2020 to July to accommodate the Mayflower 400 commemorations.

But due to the pandemic, the celebrations in July were moved to February 2021 - which have also now been cancelled and replaced with a virtual celebration instead.

The petition has attracted the attention of more than 3,000 people sign going live on the 23rd October. Credit: Change.org

More than 3,000 students have signed a petition saying they are not happy with how the university has handled their graduation plans.

They acknowledge lockdown restrictions have affected large-scale gatherings but say receiving their certificates in the post and having an online ceremony instead of an in-person celebration is "no recognition" for the hard work they put into their degrees.

Holly Charles, who set up the petition, says she believes the university should have reached out to students.

A virtual graduation has caused an awful lot of upset, anger and disappointment amongst the graduates, including friends and family.

Holly Charles, University of Plymouth graduate

"I think the university should have contacted students sooner," she said. "Graduates were happy to wait until February 2021, as was originally suggested by the university, as this meant their official graduation could eventually take place.

"However, to be told that this has now been cancelled without any consultation and been replaced by a virtual graduation has caused an awful lot of upset, anger and disappointment amongst the graduates, including friends and family."

Senior staff at the University of Plymouth say the decision to cancel the "normal" set of ceremonies was not taken lightly and came about after receiving advice from Public Health England.

They hope to offer a virtual-event for graduates very soon and a face-to-face celebration in late-2021, if COVID restrictions permit.


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