Cal State Long Beach recently announced the postponement of the 2020 Commencement Ceremony to 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
In a statement sent to graduates via email, the university revealed that they had been considering different options to provide the Class of 2020 with a commencement ceremony. However, the university’s latest proposal was not approved by local public health officials, according to the statement.
“While the delay may be disappointing, it is necessary to safeguard the health of those in attendance and meet the expectations of our students and families to offer an in-person experience,” the statement said. Details about the ceremony and activities will come in December 2020.
For CSULB communications studies major, Celso Uribe, who is also a DREAMER, the university’s announcement regarding the 2020 commencement being pushed to 2021, left him in disbelief and confused.
“We are [the] class of 2020 and graduating in 2021 doesn’t feel right,” Uribe said. “I personally don’t want to take the shine away from the Class of 2021. They deserve to be recognized for what they have accomplished.”
Uribe, like other graduates, used Twitter to express discontent with CSULB’s announcement that came on Friday, July 31, to postpone the 2020 commencement ceremony to the week of May 17-23 of 2021.
By the time the 2021 commencement comes around, Uribe will have moved on to his counseling master’s program at CSULB, where he will have a different chance to walk when he finishes the program. For Uribe, participating in the postponed ceremony scheduled for 2021 doesn’t seem likely.
“It just won’t be the same anymore,” the communications graduate said. “Being a first-generation student and a DREAMER, it would have meant the world to me to walk and have my family watch me. As [the] time comes, things may change, but as of now, it’s a no for me.”
“I honestly am grateful for what CSULB has done to try and make the students happy,” continued Uribe.
In a Twitter post on what would have been Uribe’s commencement date, the graduate said, “Today I would have walked the stage, but this does not take away what I have accomplished. Who would have thought that a kid from Mexico, who grew up in the city of Compton, in a rough neighborhood, and a DREAMER who is constantly told to go back to a place I don’t even know, [would] make it this far.”
For James Williams, 2020 graduate and co-president of the university’s National Association of Black Journalists, waiting one more year isn’t an issue.
“I waited a long time for this moment and once it was finally here it was taken away because of the coronavirus,” Williams said. “I’ll have to wait another year but my degree is already at home and at the end of the day that’s what matters most. With everything else going on in the world, waiting is the right thing to do.”
“I guess waiting one more year doesn’t hurt,” Williams said of his almost ten-year college journey.
“When the day comes, I’ll be ready.”