CUNY shifts the class of 2020’s graduation online

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Samson Li | The Ticker

Farah Javed, Copy Chief

CUNY has announced that graduation for all colleges will no longer be in person and instead will be conducted online. Baruch College’s ceremony was originally set for May 26 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but now it will be June 8 and online.

Baruch has not announced exactly how seniors will graduate online, but still it strives to provide soon-to-be alumni with a celebratory experience.

“To make life easier during this uncertain time, we created options for you to either have your gown shipped to your home or for you to receive a refund on your purchase,” the Student Life page on Baruch’s website stated.

Seniors who choose to have their gowns shipped to their homes will also not have to pay for shipping. Still, this is a far cry from getting to wear a cap and gown at an in-person ceremony.

Though Baruch has tried to provide some cheeriness stating, “Your graduation is a reason to celebrate! We encourage you to honor this milestone by making full use of your gown; take pictures, share on social media and celebrate with loved ones,” some graduating seniors can’t help but feel crestfallen.

“I am upset that commencement may be postponed. I was looking forward to celebrating graduation, decorating my graduation cap and saying goodbye to my friends. Although everything has changed, the decision to postpone graduation is a good idea. We don’t know what the future holds and I appreciate the administration telling us this a few months in advance, rather than a few weeks,” said Radhika Kalani, the former Undergraduate Student Government president.

Kalani echoes a common line of reasoning among graduating seniors. The graduation ceremony represents the completion of decades worth of education but cancelling it will prevent further spreading of the coronavirus. Ultimately, students found that making the ceremony online was the best course of action.

Still, it is understandable that many students are upset. In fact, some are even outraged, with one student going as far to say, “This is an injustice.” Some graduating seniors are first generation students who wanted the crowning moment of walking across the stage in front of their proud and beaming families.

“Long story short this is not a simple ceremony to me, this is more than that. It’s an opportunity to show my mom who is my only family member in the United States that the journey and sacrifice we have taken are all worth it, that the struggles, tears, frustration, anxiety, struggles and the moments leading up to that were worth it. It’s a time to acknowledge all the great times, my success, the people I have helped and mentored and my friends along the way,” said Christopher Hall, a graduating finance major.

For others who came to Baruch as exchange students, graduation would have been the last time for them to be with their friends living in America as well. Another issue is that with CUNY’s decision coming just a month before graduation, seniors’ arranged flights and other plans simply cannot come to fruition either.

“I am devastated. I have worked so hard for this and I can’t believe I won’t be able to celebrate it as I planned to. I understand that is for everyone’s safety, but it still hurts. My dad and friends had plane tickets bought, I had booked vacation time off work, and now it’s all gone, in the blink of an eye everything changed,” said Gisbel Tapia Guzman, a graduating accounting major.

Other colleges and universities have also postponed graduations, like New York University, SUNY New Paltz and Cornell University. Some have even made the choice to completely cancel graduation and simply mail out diplomas, like Columbia University and Cooper Union.

At the end of the day, it appears that graduating Baruch students would rather have some form of graduation than have no ceremony at all.