Commencement postponement leaves seniors with mixed reaction

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Alex Jensen

Linfield College's seniors class has a mixed reaction to commencement being postponed till late summer.

Alex Jensen, Editor-in-chief

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Over the last few weeks seniors have had to accept that they weren’t going to have the last semester they expected, nor would they experience the traditions that previous seniors had and future seniors count on. 

A new normal had to be made as students settled into classes online and new living situations, and commencement stood as the last-standing milestone moment that students hoped wouldn’t change.

The announcement from President Miles K. Davis on Thursday about commencement being postponed to late summer brought mixed feelings across the senior class. 

Some students felt relief that they would be able to participate in a moment that they and their families were dreaming of. But the news also meant that students who had existing plans or who won’t able to make the trip back to campus would miss this milestone moment. 

“I’m happy we have an opportunity to graduate. As frustrated as many people are, I believe it’s great for us to be able to close this chapter of our lives properly,” senior Eli Konsker said. “Commencement is extremely important to me and my family. I’ve worked so hard and they’ve supported me every step of the way. I want them to see me walk.”

“I’m really happy about the commencement being postponed,” senior Avery Moen said. “Obviously it’s not ideal that we don’t get to have it when we expected or wanted it to happen but it’s a lot better than it being cancelled.” 

Colleges and universities across the nation have canceled their graduations or opted for a virtual commencement

“Honestly [I’m] just really glad we get to have one. Unlike other schools who just canceled them all together,” senior Molly Herrera said.

The Associated Students of Linfield College emailed a survey out to all seniors asking them which weekend they preferred for a graduation: July 25-26 or August 8-9. 

If graduation was postponed to the weekend of July 25-26, Linfield may be able to offer on-campus housing, for rent, to seniors and their families, the survey stated.  

“It is better than the alternatives and I think that letting there be a poll for the date is a good way to make us feel like we have some sort of decision making power over our celebration,” senior Lauren Morrison said.  

But postponing commencement leaves out some students who have already planned their time past Linfield. 

“It kind of  sucks because I planned everything out past graduation,” said senior Kylee Duey plans to work at a fish processing plant in Alaska from June to late July, and then has to head straight to an internship in Texas. “But I know that they [Linfield] are trying to involve everybody that they can in some form of senior graduation which I think is pretty cool of them to do.” 

“It’s still unclear to me how students who have jobs waiting for them elsewhere or will be entering into graduate programs next year will be able to participate in this very important occasion,” said senior Elisia Harder. She is planning on attending law school at the University of Denver in the fall and worries the delayed commencement would conflict with that plan.

There is still a bit of uncertainty about what gatherings or travel will be allowed this summer. Oregon’s stay-at-home order has an unspecified end date as it is in effect until Governor Kate Brown lifts it. Officials in California and Washington have extended their stay-at-home orders until May. 

“I’m feeling a lot and nothing about it all at once. I just want this semester to be over really,” senior Ellen Gallagher said. “I’d love to have a ceremony but I’m not going to risk my family’s — and extended family’s — health just for me to be sweaty. [I] would rather have a chill gathering at my home. It’s not going to feel special in July anyways.”

Both Gallagher and Harder wondered if a ceremony in July would be realistic, as it is unknown if large gatherings will be allowed then.