CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA — Late Tuesday evening, Jim Ryan sent an email to the University of Virginia community announcing the administration’s decision that Final Exercises will not proceed as planned.
Immediately, Fourth Years took to Twitter to express their frustration. There was a consensus of grief, anger, and a lack of motivation to finish the semester strong. Many felt cheated and were upset with the fact everything they were working toward was ended in two sentences.
Fourth Year Anne Greenberg (@greenberg_as) said, “Cancelling graduation without letting graduating students know separately or giving them hope for possible graduation plans is a slap in the face of every student who attends the University and puts work into their academics. Without a doubt, this is an unprecedented situation, but letting the class of 2020 be the throwaway class in a hard scenario can’t be the answer.”
Fourth Year Brian Hnat (@hnattylite) expressed similar sentiment: “I feel like it’s one of the most significant bummers of my life. It’s not just graduation, I’ve been looking forward to the last few months of fourth year for years now. I am sad I will not get to say a proper goodbye to some really special people and the university as a whole. I feel like the class of 2020 was robbed. It is slightly comforting knowing everyone is going through the same thing. I will be devastated if UVA does not reschedule the ceremony.”
Concerns regarding a lack of closure were widely expressed on Twitter following the announcement.
“It feels like none of us have truly processed these huge and abrupt changes. It already felt like time was flying by too quickly, and now the precious few months we had left were taken away in an instant. For me, the act of walking across the stage itself doesn’t hold much significance. But I was looking forward to the days around it where we could look back on everything we accomplished and all the good times we had together. I was looking forward to that time set aside to say goodbye to each other and this place,” said Fourth Year Mike Seay (@sikemeay).
Others expressed worries over what this means for their families: “Beyond my own disappointment, I’m more upset about how this news impacts my parents and grandparents. They’ve sacrificed a lot for my education, so I’m heartbroken that they won’t get to see me Walk the Lawn as a college graduate,” said a Fourth Year who wishes to be identified by his Twitter username, @TrickadaddyDex.
Following the outcry, Jim Ryan posted a follow up on his social media explaining that postponement is one of the options the [Final Exercises] team is considering and apologized for the confusion.