Ryerson postpones spring convocation (again)

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By Charlize Alcaraz

Ryerson is postponing all spring 2021 convocation ceremonies until hosting large public social gatherings is permitted again.

In an email sent out to all 2020 graduates and 2021 graduating students on Tuesday, Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi said the university “is continuing to follow the advice and guidance of public health agencies and government directives on social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The Eyeopener previously reported that Ryerson first postponed spring convocation ceremonies on March 27, 2020, and that the university was originally only postponing them until fall 2020. Ryerson has also postponed fall 2020 ceremonies indefinitely. 

“It was very difficult to postpone convocations,” said Lachemi in an October interview with The Eye in a previous story. “It was the right thing to do.”

Lachemi added that he recognizes that convocation is a meaningful occasion for students and their families and wants to ensure that every Ryerson student that graduates during the COVID-19 pandemic will get to cross the convocation stage in-person. 

“It’s a moment of joy and celebration…Once [the Ontario government] says that universities can hold public large gatherings again, we’ll invite all graduates who had virtual ceremonies to come in-person,” said Lachemi. 

Virtual ceremonies were held on June 30, 2020 for spring graduates and on Nov. 17, 2020 for fall graduates. 

While the class of 2021 won’t be able to attend a ceremony just yet, they’ll still officially graduate following the completion of their program requirements and receive their degree or certificate in an electronic format. The paper copy will be mailed to them, according to Ryerson

“Ryerson is exploring options to virtually celebrate our spring graduates,” according to the university in an email. “More information will be shared with the community on this soon.”

The Eye previously reported that the virtual ceremony was underwhelming for students, particularly those who were the first to obtain a post-secondary degree in their family.

“Attending convocation is a rite of passage and would be celebrated by our community once it is safe to do so again,” Lachemi wrote.

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