Colleges and universities around the country are beginning to cancel their graduation and commencement ceremonies in response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
According to a report by Campus Reform, some universities and colleges have decided that they are preemptively canceling graduation and commencement ceremonies as a precautionary measure against the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. The University of Michigan and UC Irvine are among the schools that have already called off their graduation festivities.
The Associated Press released a report this week detailing graduation ceremony cancellations. The report noted that universities and colleges often spend substantial sums on graduation ceremonies.
Canceling commencement can carry financial implications for schools. Some spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on ceremonies featuring celebrity speakers, dining spreads and other displays of pomp and circumstance. At the University of Michigan, students were expecting to hear a keynote address from former Vice President Al Gore.
Some, including Tulane University, are already announcing that, in case of a cancellation, students will be refunded for their regalia purchases.
Some universities, like the Florida Institute of Technology, have announced that they will move forward with a restricted commencement event. Although only students will be permitted to attend, families will be encouraged to stream the event online.
At the Florida Institute of Technology, officials are scaling back graduation without eliminating it entirely. The school’s spring ceremony will be broken into several smaller events, with only students allowed to attend. Families will be able to watch online, and graduates can return for future exercises in the fall or summer.
Other institutions have taken different approaches. California State University, Sacramento, canceled their commencement before they suspended classes. At Wellesley College, graduating students are organizing their own commencement ceremony.
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