The UPLB University Student Council (USC) led a petition that calls for an On-Ground Commencement Exercises for the graduating class of 2020 once the pandemic subsides and the health situation allows the safe conduct of mass gatherings.
The petition stated that the graduating students of 2020 deserve to experience the long-practiced tradition of physically wearing the Sablay and marching with the other graduates of the university.
“We believe that ample recognition and send-off should be given to all those who would be departing the university,” it added.
The petition also urged the UPLB and UP administrations to provide a safe and secure environment for the on-ground graduation rites with prioritization of mass testing capacities, contact tracing, and socio-economic aid.
It added that social distancing and health protocols will be observed if needed.
The graduating students and their families even expressed their willingness to wait for the right and safe time to conduct an on-ground type of graduation rites.
“As a student who spent 4.5 years studying which includes sleepless nights, mental and emotional breakdowns, terrifying examinations, and all other things that I had to go through just to finish my degree, going on a stage to receive my degree wearing a Sablay is enough for all my sacrifices to pay off,” Nur Lemuel Castillo, one of the graduating students of BS Development Communication, stated.
Although Castillo said that online graduation is fine, he clarified that virtual graduation alone is ‘unfair’ and discriminating’ since not everyone has access to the internet connection.
Meanwhile, the UPLB USC held an online meeting with the graduating students via zoom to discuss the updates on the petition.
The result of the signatures on the petition showed that 67% of the 625 names responded they know a graduating student who would not be able to join the university or college-wide online graduation rites due to a lack of internet or hardware access.
The graduating students who attended the meeting later raised the concern of the other students who cannot join due to unstable internet connection.
“I would like to share lang po na si Shantel Chavez, the class valedictorian would really like to be here. Kaso may problem siya with their internet connection (isa sa reason why we should postpone it),” one of the attendees said in the chatbox.
However, UPLB USC assured that the UP Office of the Student Regent (OSR) already has the support of the UP admin to consider holding actual graduation rites in the latter part of the year if the situation allows with the utmost consideration for safety. [P]
Photo by UPLB Perspective