The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC to hold virtual graduation, leaving some disappointed

When the novel coronavirus spread across the world, schools have been forced to create new ways for students to have class, work, and now as the end of the school year is approaching — how students are celebrating their graduation. 

City College suspended all on-campus operations after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the county on March 15, and nine days later Superintendent-President Utpal Goswami announced the decision to cancel the traditional in-person commencement. 

“For our students and SBCC community, it saddens me very deeply to share that a decision has been made not to hold an in-person commencement this May,” Goswami wrote in his open letter on March 24.  “I was looking forward to celebrating this important milestone in person.” 

Goswami further stated that the commencement ceremony will be held online for the first time in the school’s history.

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A celebration that is typically spent with friends, family and fellow classmates will instead be streamed live via YouTube, and the long-awaited diplomas delivered by mail.

Communication major Rebecca Ringgenburger is one of many students who was looking forward to celebrating her academic achievements with her peers after two years at City College. 

She now says she is left feeling disappointed and saddened by the way her studies at the institution are coming to an end. 

“I don’t really like the idea of a virtual ceremony,” she said. “It just somehow doesn’t feel like there is a graduation at all.”

Ringgenburger hasn’t signed up to be part of the ceremony, and does not plan on participating online.

“I just doubt that it’ll feel as celebratory,” said Ringgenburger. “I get that [City College] is doing the best they can and that their hands are tied, but it just doesn’t change the fact that I’m disappointed.”

Each graduate will be able to access the ceremony online and it will be available for anyone, anywhere to watch. 

“As part of the ceremony we will read the name of each graduate,” Goswami told The Channels. “And show a photo and a quote [from each graduate].”

Associate Dean Dr. Christopher Johnson emphasized that the solution to hold the ceremony virtually is not ideal, but it’s a way to honor the graduates as they finish their last semester at City College. 

“These are unprecedented times and it is not an ideal solution,” Johnson said. “Although, SBCC is excited to be able to honor each of our graduates’ hard work and dedication through a virtual rite of passage.”

City College is working hard to make the virtual ceremony special and memorable for all graduates despite the global pandemic, even though it will be significantly different from previous years. 

The virtual commencement is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday, May 8 where graduates, along with their family members, will be able attend the ceremony on YouTube. 

Students will also have the option to attend a later in-person graduation ceremony once restrictions on gatherings are lifted.

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