Manchester Metropolitan University has announced that summer 2020 graduation ceremonies will not go ahead as planned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
An email sent to students read: “One decision that has been particularly hard for us concerns graduation.
“I am writing to let you know that, sadly, we will not be able to go ahead with this year’s ceremonies at the end of the summer term.
“Graduation is a hugely important part of your time at university. It is an opportunity to celebrate your academic success with family and friends.
“It is when we all recognise the effort and commitment that you have put into your studies.
“I am deeply sorry that I will not now be able to shake your hand and congratulate you personally on achieving a degree from Manchester Metropolitan University.”
The lack of formal graduation ceremonies over the summer period will not stop or delay the university from granting degrees, however.
The statement continues: “While the ceremony will not take place as planned, I can reassure you that this will not delay us granting degrees.
“All those who gain a degree will receive their certificate by the end of September, and that degree will be valid even without a formal graduation ceremony.
“I believe that a degree is now more valuable than ever.
“We need qualified people to help us through the coronavirus challenge, and to address the pressing issues that we face as a global community, including climate change, food security, sustainable development, social justice, and the industries of the future.”
The statement suggests the university are exploring other options to mark graduations “in some shape or form” and that further updates will be published soon.
Manchester Metropolitan University student Kyra Lewis has responded to the statement by creating a petition urging Vice Chancellor Malcom Press to commit to rescheduling the formal events.
“The fact that we can’t celebrate our academic success with our family and friends after all our hard work is heartbreaking,” she writes.
She added that the statement was like “rubbing salt into the wound” and urged fellow students to sign the petition, which has received over 4,500 signatures in under 24 hours.