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The ceremonies will follow the all-virtual format first utilized for Spring 2020’s convocations. Image: Ekrulila/Pexels

Ceremonies to take place from June 14 to 16

The University of Ottawa has finally announced its Spring 2021 convocation dates, less than one month before they are scheduled to take place. The ceremonies will follow the all-virtual format first utilized for Spring 2020’s convocations, and be divided into segments for different faculties. 

Students across campus are frustrated by the lack of communication from school officials regarding the status of convocation, especially since the ceremonies have been guaranteed to be held virtually for nearly six months.

Rachel Van Lanen, an imminent graduate of the university’s theatre program, voiced her scheduling concerns in an interview.

“They’ve known about the virtual format since we first registered for graduation months ago. There’s no reason they couldn’t have let us know sooner what was going on,” said Van Lanen.

“I still don’t even have one of my grades back.”

Van Lanen’s not the only one still waiting for final marks. Sydney Oakman, another imminent theatre graduate, shared her frustrations about the end of this academic year.

“I’m going for another degree at [the University of] Toronto and I can’t even send them my transcript yet because I don’t have all my marks,” said Oakman.

Academic uncertainties are high on students’ lists of grievances with the university on this matter. Abigail White, an imminent criminology graduate, was left unsure of whether or not she even fit her graduation requirements. 

“You know how it is. It caused some anxiety for me, not knowing if I was graduating or when it would be,” said White.

The University of Ottawa’s important dates and deadlines page has listed this spring’s convocation ceremonies as “TBD” for the past several months, and was only updated on Wednesday with the proper dates, in tandem with a mass email to tentative graduates. The final list of confirmed graduates will not be released until June 8, 2021, just over a week before the ceremonies, in order to account for students’ final marks (which are much later this year than they have been in years past).

“I started a new job, and I’ve been growing increasingly more anxious about when convocation will be,” said Asian studies tentative graduate Ashley Barnes in an interview.

“They’re barely communicating with us. We’re being left in the dark about what’s going on and just getting snippets of information every once in a while.”

All in all, this year’s convocations seem a more sombre affair than in years past, clouded by the university’s unwillingness to communicate to soon-to-be graduates the logistics of this year’s ceremonies. 

“It’s difficult,” said graduating English student Elizabeth McDonald. “You teeter between wanting the end of your university career to be this extravagant, life-changing, fulfilling experience that you’ve worked so hard for so many years to achieve…but you can’t be surprised that things haven’t worked out the way you thought they would. You feel like you can’t be disappointed.”

“My priorities have changed. School just didn’t feel like a priority anymore when the world shut down. Convocation doesn’t either.”