Students have been assured they will still graduate, despite not having the summer ceremony. However, many of them feel the need for a proper celebration after a year like no other.
Ha Nguyen, a future graduate, told The Courier: "I just accepted the situation. At first, when I received the email, I was disappointed because you work hard, you study for three years, and in the end, you don't have the experience of wearing the gown and cherishing the moment with your friends and family. Hopefully, the University can make up for it in some sort of way ".
As compensation, students are offered a graduation photography event, which will take place on multiple days in July 2021. By booking a slot, they can go on campus with their families and have their photographs taken wearing the Newcastle University gown.
The email also encourages students to complete a survey, open until 26 March 2021, about the ceremony and the photoshoot. By looking at the questions, it seems that alternative locations are being considered, and the postponement period could be between 6 months and more than 2 years.
The survey also questions the students' willingness to celebrate graduation at the China campus in 2022. Newcastle University has previously held 2 successful ceremonies in China in 2013 and 2014.
In the middle of uncertainty, some students compared the situation with that of last year's, and wondered whether there will be an in-person graduation at all. Nguyen said: "I don't know how they are going to do it, because they will have both the class of 2020 and the class of 2021. It would be quite difficult for everyone to attend and the experience would be so much different"
International students will be the most affected by this situation, as they may not be able to attend a postponed ceremony.
More details are likely to follow after the university reaches a final decision about the best way to hold the graduation celebrations.