By Charlotte King
This week, Cardiff University announced it was transitioning to remote teaching with near-immediate effect. Today, it has been revealed to students that all summer graduation ceremonies for students graduating in 2020 have been postponed indefinitely.
This news comes in light of the continuing Covid-19 outbreak as the University states that their primary concern is “the health and wellbeing of our students, their guests and our staff.”
In a statement posted online earlier this afternoon, the University said that they cannot confirm when postponed ceremonies will go ahead but as soon as they do, students who are eligible to graduate in July’s ceremonies will be informed of the new arrangements.
For those concerned about the impacts Covid-19 might have on them receiving their degrees, the University has also stressed that despite graduation ceremonies being postponed, those who meet the requirements of their degree programmes will still receive their degree certificate and final transcript as they would in normal circumstances, as soon as possible after their results are confirmed.
Additionally, a Cardiff University spokesperson informed Gair Rhydd that the Covid-19 outbreak should not adversely affect graduation prospects for students who are due to sit summer exams because assessments may instead be taken remotely, for example via Skype.
The School of Law and Politics, for example, told students yesterday that all remaining assessments for the academic year will be released and submitted online, and will be “set in the context of not only the industrial action…but also the global pandemic.”
The spokesperson continued: “We will do everything we can to ensure that we continue to support learning and students are able to undertake relevant assessments. We need to have sufficient information, mark profiles and results to make informed and reasonable decisions on your academic progression or any eligibility for an academic award.”
However, the prospect of postponing graduation ceremonies is causing concern for some students. One JOMEC student, Luisa De La Concha Montes, told Gair Rhydd that she feels Cardiff University is overlooking international students in their contingency plans.
Luisa, an international student from Mexico, said: “Most of the student visas of people graduating this year expire around October 2020, so you have to leave the UK by that date. Therefore, if graduation was to occur after that date, what we would have to do is fly back to our home countries and then come back as a tourist, rather than a student, which obviously is quite expensive and not everyone can afford.”
Luisa continued to say that she feels overall, the University has been poor in providing support to international students.
“In terms of Cardiff Uni, with the exception of releasing information about Chinese students, they haven’t sent any emails specifically addressing how international students can cope with this situation. For example, in my current situation, I can technically still fly back to Mexico because the border is not closed yet. However, since online teaching is still going on, I am very confused as how I would attend seminars online if I was in Mexico with a six hour time difference.
“So for me, I’m just going to stay here for now, but as you can understand it is having a huge toll on myself to have to deal with all the uncertainty with my family on the other side of the globe.”
In response to Luisa’s comments, a Cardiff University spokesperson said: “We’re living through unprecedented events whose course is very difficult to predict.
“What we do know is that life will not be the same for a period of weeks and months, and that we are all having to make changes that would have been inconceivable only a few days ago.
“It is with deep regret that we have decided to postpone the summer 2020 graduation ceremonies.
“We appreciate this news will be disappointing but we can assure you that this decision has not been taken lightly…All students will have the opportunity to celebrate with us on a future occasion.”