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The University Star




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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

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Students call for Texas State to conduct in-person commencement

A+Dec.+2019+commencement+ceremony+for+the+McCoy+College+of+Business.

A Dec. 2019 commencement ceremony for the McCoy College of Business.

Texas State students began signing a petition Tuesday calling for the university to conduct in-person ceremonies for August commencement.
The petition comes a day after President Denise Trauth announced Texas State would conduct August commencement ceremonies virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The petition, started by Garrett Pringle and signed by over 600 users thus far, proposes the university pursue alternative options.
Among its proposals are using Bobcat Stadium, limiting guests to 4-5 per student and adding more days to the commencement process. Bobcat Stadium can hold up to 30,000 people at once.
“With Texas State University making the decision to do online ceremonies instead of in-person ceremonies, the administration is stripping graduates of the fullness of achievement,” the petition states. “With all that has been invested and overcome by students, they deserve in-person ceremonies.”
On Tuesday, Trauth said before a decision to cancel in-person ceremonies was made, the commencement feasibility workgroup, which consists of students, faculty senators, a dean representative, the registrar, the commencement coordinator, the associate vice president for academic affairs and the chief medical officer, considered Bobcat Stadium to hold the ceremonies. She said weather unpredictability was a determining factor.
“The (workgroup) recognized that it is almost certainly going to be 100 degrees (in August)… layered on top of that, if it did rain, there’s no indoor site we could have had it in the event that it rained,” Trauth said. “(We can’t move it) at the last minute (safely) indoors; that’s the whole problem: You can’t do social distancing in Strahan (Coliseum).”
Trauth said the university would not be able to do the necessary deep cleaning for nine in-person ceremonies over a three-day period. She also said the committee made the virtual commencement decision sooner rather than later because it did not think the logistics of the environment would have changed much between now and another deadline.
“With virtual (commencement), since we have never done it before, there’s even more planning, so (the workgroup) needed the lead time to make this work and make it the kind of commencement ceremony we’d be proud of,” Trauth said.
The petition states there are plenty of other steps possible to add safety.
“At the end of the day, everyone participating is doing so at their own choice and should be allowed to make that decision.”

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