UMaine seniors campaign for in person graduation

A spokesperson for the school says they expect to make an announcement this week..
Seniors want in person ceremony
Seniors want in person ceremony
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 4:10 PM EDT
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ORONO, Maine (WABI) - Students at the University of Maine in Orono want an in person graduation later this year.

They are trying to get school officials on board with a proposal for an outdoor ceremony.

Their petition has gained a great deal of support.

“We are realizing now there is no normalcy in the senior year and we’re just gonna have to deal with it as it is,” said UMaine senior Brody Osborne.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” added fellow senior Ashleigh Brogna

A few months ago Osborne and Brogna began a campaign for an in person graduation ceremony.

After plans for a virtual ceremony were announced, Brody started a petition for a more normal event - in a matter of hours it had over one thousand signatures..

“There should be a lot more progress that we made in those three months or something should be able to be achieved,” said Osborne. “There’s also a very upsetting feeling that after a year of planning for this there still could not be anything put together we just didn’t seem right at that point.”

Ashleigh submitted a proposal on how it could safely happen.

“Wrote the proposal which includes both walking across the stage for those who want to and those that don’t feel comfortable would be on zoom,” she said. “When I wrote the proposal I sent it to everyone.”

They say the school has been responsive so far.

“I think there is hope,” said Brogan. “I think they took the proposal and they altered it a little bit. Location wise they altered it and they said it was under serious consideration.”

“They did at least say that they are now planning to have the graduates physically walk across the stage and receive their diplomas which will then be streamed to a virtual audience,” added Osborne. “We’ve been on this campus for this entire year at this point practicing social distancing, limiting face-to-face contact, even the University has a policy that if you are within 6 feet of one another you need to wear a face shield in addition to a mask. We followed all the protocols. We’ve been testing students weekly on campus. There’s no reason that we shouldn’t be able to line up 6 feet apart and walk across the stage and keep that safe distance.”

“I think it’s reiterating the point of the students and the faculty just working together,” said Brogna. “We’ve done it for two semesters now and I think we can afford to do it again for one day.”

Earlier this month the University Chancellor told TV5 that they have had discussions concerning in person ceremonies across the system’s 7 campuses.

A spokesperson for the school says they expect to make an announcement this week..

We hope to have more on this for you Friday.

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