WU cancels class of 2020 commencement ceremony

| Senior News Editor

Washington University canceled commencement for the class of 2020, Chancellor Andrew Martin announced in a video message to the graduating class, Monday evening, as concern over COVID-19’s spread grows nationwide.

The 2020 university-wide celebration was set to be held May 15. The announcement comes shortly after the Center for Disease Control recommended that all gatherings with 50 or more people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks. On Monday, President Donald Trump urged Americans to avoid discretionary travel and gatherings of more than 10 people for the next 15 days.

While many institutions have weighed their options and acknowledged the uncertain futures of their commencement ceremonies, the University has joined the University of Michigan in being one of the first universities to outright cancel the annual ceremony.

At the time of the announcement, there have been six confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Missouri, and more than 3,000 cases nationwide.

“This is a moment that will someday go in the history books and the decisions you are making right now, the sacrifices you are making for the sake of the well-being and safety of the world’s most vulnerable populations will be forever remembered,” Martin said in the video message.

According to Martin, the University is currently working to find a way for seniors to officially graduate. He plans to announce a way for students and families to commemorate the occasion virtually and in person further in the future soon.

“This is the semester in college that everyone dreams about — your last semester as a college athlete, your last performance on stage, your last big presentation, speech or debate, your last chances to gather with your friends and classmates and make memories you’ll always remember and the culmination of your studies, portfolios and theses,” Martin said. “In an instant flip of a switch, these moments and dreams have been ripped out from underneath you, and for that, I am truly sorry.”

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