Graduation Canceled… Except For ‘Students of Color’ And ‘LGBTQIA+’ Students

by Kyle Hooten – Campus Reform

  • St. Olaf College has postponed graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020 until next year but will still host virtual festivities for minority students only.
  • Seniors at the school say they have not been informed of any similar virtual festivities for the general student body.

St. Olaf College in Minnesota plans to host three virtual graduation ceremonies for different groups of minority students, while others must wait until next year to celebrate their completion of college.

“Self-identified domestic students of color, international students and LGBTQIA+ students” at the Minnesota school will receive their own virtual graduation ceremonies at the conclusion of this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, per an administrative email. Meanwhile, graduation for the rest of the class of 2020 has been “rescheduled for a date in late May/early June of 2021,” according to the school’s website.

Graduation Canceled

The three virtual graduation ceremonies for students in minority groups were announced by and will be hosted through the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion. This project of the school exists to help “students of color,” “LBGTQIA+” and international students “celebrate” their “awesomeness factor,” per the center’s website.

The center announced its intent to host the online graduation ceremonies via email, Friday.

“This event acknowledges the value and uniqueness of students’ experience and serves to commemorate and highlight the accomplishments of individuals within their familial and cultural context,” reads the email.

The three graduations are called the multicultural, international, and lavender graduations and are intended for American students of color, international students, and “LGBTQIA+” students, respectively.

Campus Reform spoke to multiple graduating seniors at St. Olaf, none of whom said they’ve been informed of any online ceremony for the general student body.

Associate Director of Communications Kari VanDerVeen told Campus Reform that the school is “exploring a number of ways to celebrate the Class of 2020,” but that plans were not yet “finalized.” The school website also makes no mention of such an event.

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