‘A heart wrenching blow’: Bristol students react as graduation ceremonies postponed


By Guy Taylor, Investigations Editor

Students have expressed their disappointment and resignation towards the University of Bristol’s recent decision to postpone in-person graduation ceremonies until Spring 2022.

Speaking to Epigram, Tiegan Bingham-Roberts, a third-year English course rep, said that the decision is ‘ridiculous, a shambles, a huge heart wrenching blow to my motivation and to the dedication I have shown to this university.

‘During stressful essay writing sessions, what gets me through is thinking about the end goal and specifically the end celebration – which has been taken away from us. Graduation ceremonies were the beacon of hope amidst this continued chaotic and disappointing academic year.’

As the country begins to open-up from a year of lockdowns, Tiegan also highlighted the hypocrisy of a ‘zoom graduation, whilst the rest of the country can go to football games and concerts.’

Third year History students Alice Geldenhuys and Jacklyn Widjaja described the decision as an ‘anti-climax’ and ‘really upsetting,’ whilst Sophie Albrow, another prospective history graduate, said that she felt ‘gutted as it was the only glimmer of hope.’

Bristruths, the popular anonymous confessions page, released a post saying: ‘I’m so disappointed and upset about graduation not happening this year, I wish the uni would be more transparent in their decision making… I really just don’t understand why it can't go ahead.’

#Bristruth33559 I’m so disappointed and upset about graduation not happening this year, I wish the uni would be more...

Posted by Bristruths on Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Although many students were angered and upset by the decision, some who Epigram contacted argued that the decision was out of the University’s hands.

Tabitha Pring, a third-year Biomedical student, said that she thought ‘that it is very understandable to postpone graduation due to the circumstances. It is disappointing not to be able to celebrate with friends, everyone feels the same way. But I feel like everyone saw this coming.’

Final year Economics student Will Donald agreed, saying ‘it's not really their fault… it's not ideal but hardly like the university want this either.’

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A spokesperson from the University has previously justified the decision with reference to the ‘ongoing unpredictability around hosting mass events,’ stating that ‘we know many students will be disappointed by this decision but we look forward to next year when we can hold these ceremonies safely.’

Currently, virtual replacement events will take place, although the University has said these ‘are not replacements for graduations,’ but rather a chance to celebrate ‘in the interim.’

Featured Image: Epigram / Cameron Scheijde

What do you think of the University’s decision to postpone in-person graduation ceremonies until Spring 2022?