By 2020 Graduand

The University of the West Indies normally holds its graduation ceremony in October. Further, the SVG Campus site would have its own recognition ceremony the following January. However due to COVID-19, the Open Campus graduation is postponed to Jan. 13, 2021, and we have no idea if the SVG campus site will be having its traditional student recognition ceremony.

Earlier this year, The University of the West Indies conducted a survey to see if the graduands would prefer to have a virtual or face-to-face ceremony, and the majority selected the traditional face-to-face ceremony.

Surprisingly, a town hall meeting was held on Nov. 13 to inform us that the graduation will be a virtual ceremony and that we have up to Nov. 30 to register, and that headshot image should be taken by the Nov. 25. We were informed of everything at short notice. 

Now, this is the hurtful and most vexatious part of it all. Barbados, which is in a worse state compared to SVG where COVID-19 is concerned, will be having a face-to-face traditional graduation ceremony. We do not have a COVID-19 issue in SVG; it’s business as usual. People are partying every weekend; we have been seeing mass gatherings all during the election campaign season, funerals/carnivals every weekend. No one is concerned about masks and social distancing during these events, yet we cannot have a face-to-face graduation ceremony in SVG? On no level this can be right. This is not fair to us who would have spent tireless nights beating books over the years and now have to settle for sitting in front of our computers to watch piece of our heads on the screen.

Even if the University of the West Indies chose to have a virtual ceremony, why can’t the SVG staff organise its usual recognition ceremony, as it is accustom to doing? We need an answer.

In the town hall meeting we were told that this virtual graduation package cost US$50 (one image for the virtual ceremony, a graduation canister and use of gown). Now, note that the use of the gown is only for a few seconds just for the photo shoot (headshot) and should be removed immediately after taking that headshot.

After receiving much pressure from graduands, the SVG campus finally sent out emails at the last minute on Friday afternoon to inform the graduands of the photo-shoot date and how payment should be made.

The photo shoot was confirmed with the photographer on Thursday and is due to take place on Monday from 9 a.m. to noon.

How many persons are able to get to the bank on Friday afternoon to stand in the line for hours just to pay US$50 in order to have a photo taken on on Monday morning with the receipt? This is just ridiculous.

The general consensus is that we are not interested in the UWI campus virtual ceremony. We want the SVG campus to keep its traditional local Recognition of Graduates Ceremony.

The fact remains that SVG is business as usual, as far as COVID-19 is concerned, so the SVG site should not be telling graduands that its the university rules and regulations. Because if a representative for the SVG campus was present at the town hall meeting on Nov. 13, they would have known that each site can make their individual decisions to have a face-to-face ceremony.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

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