Drake University seniors have conflicting feelings on virtual graduation, the option to attend the December commencement, and how the university handled the situation.
On March 25, 2020, President Marty Martin announced that the rest of the spring semester will be held online because of COVID-19 and health concerns.
Since the announcement, seniors are sending in videos and photographs for a virtual commencement held on May 16.
With this being said, many seniors were upset their last semester is online and that they will not be graduating in person.
Sophie Bjorkman, a senior studying marketing and public relations said she was heartbroken to get the email and believes the school gave them false hope by waiting to give the announcement.
“I know it was a hard call to make and the ‘senior’ in me is frustrated and upset but the other side of me knows it’s necessary to keep our community safe during this time,” Bjorkman said.
Bjorkman said she doesn’t agree with the virtual graduation or a December graduation because it doesn’t “make-up” for the loss of their actual ceremony.
Though really upset, many seniors believe that the decision was right, but hearing it was still hard to accept.
Brandon Menne, a senior studying actuarial science and data analytics, said the school made the right decision with the limited amount of options they had.
“Every other school is shutting down and at the rate of the virus it’s probably smart to keep people from all over the country away from each other. I’m upset, but at the same time it’s not like they have a lot of options,” Menne said.
On March 20, students received an email from President Martin stating that he was unprepared to decide on remote class for the rest of the semester and to cancel the commencement.
President Martin said he wanted to wait in order to not rush into anything and wanted to take a few moments to understand and weight ever option with safety as the top priority.
Five days later, another email was sent out to students from President Martin stating the remaining semester will be online and seniors will have the options to participate in a virtual commencement in May and a chance to attend the live commencement in December.
Alex Besch, a senior studying public relations and politics, said President Martin did a good job handling the situation, but still cannot believe she wouldn’t have her graduation in the spring.
“I waited my whole life for the moment to walk across the stage and finish my years of schooling and now it kind of just feels like it was all taken from me,” Besch said.
Drake University is continuing to update students and faculty on COVID-19 and remains willing to help students.