University of Portsmouth reveals plans to offer in-person graduation events this summer
STUDENTS have welcomed the University of Portsmouth’s decision to hold in-person graduation ceremonies.
The change of stance comes a month after the vice-chancellor, Professor Graham Galbraith, cancelled the celebratory event.
He said he could not see Covid regulations on large gatherings ‘changing in the near future’ and ‘the health and safety of everyone must come first’.
However, following the government hoping to end restrictions by June 21, the university is now offering students the choice of an in-person graduation ceremony at Portsmouth Guildhall, or a virtual ceremony.
The offer has been extended to include last year’s graduates who also had their celebration cancelled due to the pandemic.
Geology student James Carey, 20, who is due to graduate this year, said: ‘I’m really happy that the university have gone back and looked at their original decision and I know other students I’ve spoken to feel the same.
‘I know it’s subject to potential change but I’m pleased the university has at least reviewed and explored the option of a live ceremony. If regulations allow then I certainly plan on attending.’
Computer science graduate Oliver Rogers, 23, who should have attended the 2020 event, added: ‘I’m glad the university has listened to students although I do think the government’s road map announcement has helped to shape this decision.
‘I’m pleased the university has also said a change in regulations will result in the postponement of the event rather than the cancellation.’
Virtual ceremonies for 2020 graduates will take place between May 24 and 28, and in-person ceremonies between July 12 and 16.
The 2021 graduates will have virtual and in-person ceremonies between July 19 and 29.
The plan for the in-person ceremonies could be subject to socially distanced seating and temperature checks upon arrival.
University bosses have also warned they will be subject to any change in the government’s Covid rules.
A statement sent to The News said: ‘If government advice is updated, in person ceremonies may not be possible.
‘They will only go ahead if government guidance in July allows, and we may be required to cancel the arrangements at the last minute and postpone to a later time when it’s safe to do so.’
Students had been left disappointed with the original decision to cancel the celebratory event, feeling the decision had been taken too early.
Students and family members can attend virtually if they have concerns about attending.
The virtual events will be held on Graduations.LIVE
The university has said it ‘is so much more than just a Zoom call’.