U of T to host virtual convocation in light of COVID-19

In-person, graduation ceremonies may be hosted by academic divisions in September
MASHAL KHAN / THE VARSITY
MASHAL KHAN / THE VARSITY

President Meric Gertler announced in an email to students today that in lieu of an in-person convocation, which was cancelled on March 23, the university will host a digital convocation where Chancellor Rose Patten, Chair of Convocation, “will convene a virtual Convocation to be broadcast on or before June 2, 2020, incorporating the core elements of a Convocation ceremony,” Gertler wrote.

“Following the legal requirements under the University of Toronto Act, the Chancellor will confer degrees on all graduates. In these exceptional circumstances, all degrees will be conferred in absentia,” and, as Gertler had announced earlier, diplomas will then be mailed to graduating students.

However, Gertler also said that in-person graduation ceremonies may organized by individual academic divisions, “complete with many of the core elements of a traditional Convocation, including academic regalia, congratulatory remarks from academic leaders, a graduation speaker, and presentation of the graduates.”

The Faculty of Arts & Science, for example, has promised to hold an in-person ceremony, though the exact details have not been revealed.

“Of course, the uncertainties surrounding the present crisis make it impossible to provide firm dates for these in-person graduation ceremonies at this time,” wrote Gertler, who hopes that these celebrations will occur after September 1.

Students have been outspoken against the cancelled convocation, calling for it to be postponed instead. A petition created shortly after the cancellation announcement has received over 25,000 signatures.

The Varsity has reached out to U of T Media Relations for comment.

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