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CBA petitions F2F graduation ceremony but VPAA confirms virtual commencement

by Hannah Patricia Abril | April 24, 2021

Photo courtesy of Zane Esparaga

With the nearing dates for this school year’s graduation, the College of Business Administration student leaders petitioned for graduating students to procure the Covovax vaccine through the university for a possible face-to-face graduation ceremony.

However, Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) Dr. Earl Jude Paul Cleope in an interview shared that they have to dismiss the appeal due to vaccines having yet to arrive after the school year.

“In terms of that wish and aspiration to have a face-to-face commencement, I have to dampen that enthusiasm because, in the first place, our commencement is a few days—not even one month—let’s say a month from now because it’s scheduled on May 23, and considering that it’s already April 16 and we don’t even have the vaccines yet. With all the protocols and with the surge of the infections, [and] with so many variants already and the mutations, it will not be safe for everybody to have a commencement exercise that is face-to-face,” Dr. Cleope said.

According to College of Business Administration Governor Elennie Miro, they have reached out to SU Student Government President Jose Paolo Echavez via email for the petition, suggesting that students may attain the Covovax vaccines by paying in advance for their orders to be included.

Miro added that they had not heard from Echavez after he had forwarded their email to the Office of Students Services and VPAA, although he stated to give an update as soon as he can.

“This arrangement would allow the students, and potentially their families, to avail of the vaccine without Silliman University having to fund the purchase. However, if the university finds that asking or accommodating the entire student body for this type of request will delay the placing of its orders, this option may be offered only to be graduating students,” said the CBA Governor.

The VPAA shared that the university’s commencement committee has convened that it will be safer for a virtual graduation ceremony for this school year’s graduates.

“There’s even a plan that we will also do a virtual commencement for those who did not have a commencement last year,” Dr. Cleope added. “So you can just imagine the work that is going to put into these preparations [for] a dual commencement with two different sets of graduates; those that graduated in 2020, because of the pandemic, and then those who will be graduating in 2021.”

The VPAA closed with a statement that hopefully, once the vaccines have arrived and students are also vaccinated, the university can work for a face-to-face graduation commencement.


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