Students were informed of this semester’s commencement ceremony plan March 15 via a Truman Today email. The ceremonies will take place over two days, indoors and with a strict attendance maximum of two guests per graduate. Upon learning of this year’s plan for graduation, many students have expressed frustration with the guidelines, including students with divorced parents who will be forced to make difficult decisions about their allotted tickets. In this way, some people see the restrictions as too strict.
However, by inviting people to Kirksville in order to celebrate graduation, the University is allowing for the possibility of increased community spread. And while limiting the number of invitations to two per graduate does minimize risk, the decision to have the ceremonies indoors restricts the ability to social distance. Therefore, some students see the decisions as too lenient.
It seems the commencement planning team has tried to compromise between these two ideas by finding a middle ground that, unfortunately, doesn’t fully satisfy anyone. The circumstances we find ourselves in are less than ideal and we, as Truman students, must understand that a lot of thought and work has gone into trying to give students the chance to walk across the stage.
While the world has endured this past year of uncertainty and confusion, we understand how easy it is to crave normalcy. But when looking at the numbers of infections and deaths in both Adair county and Missouri as a whole, it is clear that we are still in the middle of this pandemic. Not enough has changed since last December to warrant looser safety measures, particularly large gatherings of people indoors.
We, The Index Editorial Board, ask the University to consider hosting the commencement ceremonies outdoors. We understand that trying to organize a new venue in the event of inclement weather can create issues, so we encourage the commencement planning committee to wait until we get closer to May 7-8 to make a final decision about location. If the weather permits, we believe hosting the events outdoors for better ventilation, as the CDC recommends, would result in a larger number of people feeling safer about attending commencement.