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

Cross Currents: Should graduation be in-person this year?

The Channels Opinion Pages | CROSS CURRENTS
Alloy Zarate
Illustration by Alloy Zarate, 2020

Graduation is just around the corner. City College decided to hold virtual commencements this year in hopes to keep everyone safe from COVID-19 infection. However, for many, graduation is an important celebration when family physically comes together to honor and validate this achievement.

Is City College right to hold graduations virtually this year?


Cassandra Wilkins, Opinion Editor

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After three years of hard work at City College, I was hoping for the opportunity to see the joyful expressions on my parents’ faces when walking across the stage.

For many of us, graduating from college is a huge accomplishment, and City College should make more of an effort to celebrate its Class of 2021 graduates. 

I understand that COVID-19 is a concern. But with proper safety protocols, but I believe City College could find a better way to host its commencement ceremony and honor its students.

This summer, multiple California universities are dividing commencement into multiple ceremonies in order to have a safe, well-deserved event.

It doesn’t feel as if our school is having a virtual commencement for the safety of its students but rather because it is the easy, more cost-effective route.

“We are excited to celebrate Commencement 2021 on Saturday, May 29, with two in-person ceremonies at the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena,” Cal State LA said in a statement.

Local High Schools are also moving forward with in-person commencement. “All graduates will be able to celebrate and participate in this milestone event together with their peers,” San Marcos High School posted on their website. 

San Marcos will celebrate its senior class of 2021 in person on Wednesday, June 9. For those who wish to celebrate virtually a ceremony will also be held on Monday, June 7. San Marcos will allow each graduate to invite two guests. 

City College will be hosting a four-hour signing Day event on May 2. “A safe drive-thru experience celebrating our new to college local high school/Promise Program eligible students,” according to the City College website.

The school says they prefer to highlight its potential incoming students instead of celebrating its current student body – including its students in Disability Services and Programs for Students (DSPS), Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) and the Promise program.

According to The Channels, “Students will drive through a planned route while being cheered on and given a Vaquero Pride goodie bag.”

If City College could make the effort to do something similar for its graduates, I would feel that they truly had the best interest of its students.


Alexandra Ruther, Staff Writer

My last graduation ceremony was my high school graduation. This was supposed to be a milestone. I thought it was meant to be a momentous day in my life.

When the day finally arrived, I sat inside an auditorium in a cheap folding chair next to people that I didn’t know – just waiting for the ceremony to be over. This memory reminds me that I won’t be missing anything new or special by watching the ceremony online.

I think that the City College graduation ceremony should be held online this year.

Especially right now with COVID-19 still prominent in Santa Barbara County, it isn’t worth risking the public’s safety to be surrounded by so many people.

Even though vaccines are started to be handed out to Santa Barbara County residents, the CDC still doesn’t advise large group gatherings that can be avoided.

I’ve never been to a graduation ceremony at City College, but I can imagine how long the ceremony lasts due to how many graduates there are yearly.

Besides the health risks of hosting a massive graduation ceremony at La Playa Field, I feel like it’s still such an impersonal event.

Although the graduation won’t be held in traditional fashion, graduates still have the opportunity to celebrate their day with friends and family, which is the most important part of what makes graduating special. 

I plan to celebrate graduating from City College this year with my close friends who are in my COVID-19 bubble.

I don’t feel like it’s the location or the number of people I’m surrounded by that makes a moment special, but it’s the people I spend that moment with. This is why it’s not a big deal that we have to celebrate our graduation online. 

I don’t think I even plan to watch the online graduation. Instead, I’ll pop a bottle of bubbly with my friends and celebrate my educational success with the people who matter to me. 

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