Some Rutgers students upset that graduation is canceled, but a major sporting event can take place

Some students at Rutgers University are upset at the administration for allowing a sporting event with 5,000 people, yet graduation ceremonies are still canceled.
Administrators decided to cancel May 16 in-person commencement activities in February, leaving students disappointed for a second time after the 2020 graduations were canceled. So students were surprised to learn about the sporting event with thousands of spectators.
“I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2020 and I graduated in my backyard. So to hear that once again I was being left out, not having a graduation, it was painful,” says Rutgers graduate student Olivia Ditrlio.
Ditrlio comes from a family of Rutgers graduates, and though she will still get her degree, she says she is still frustrated by the school’s decision.
“I accepted it and I was finally ready to celebrate, and then the news of this game came and it kind of brought up all those feelings once again,” she says.
Rutgers announced last week that the football team will be hosting its annual spring game with 5,000 spectators in the stands at SHI Stadium – the same stadium where graduation takes place.
“We kind of would like some answers as to how the football team is able to go through with 5,000 spectators at the same stadium that we can’t graduate in,” says graduate student Heather Harris.
The May 20 game is set to be played four days after commencement with limited tickets going to students and season ticket holders. Some of the students say that the school should reconsider its decision to cancel graduation.
“It seems like they’re prioritizing football and maybe making money rather than providing some celebration for the hardworking students of Rutgers,” says Ditrlio.
Some students have started a petition to ask the school to change its mind.
“The response that everybody got back was just that it was in accordance with health standards put forward by the state, by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and that was that,” says Harris.
Gov. Phil Murphy says that starting May 10, outdoor gatherings will be able to have 500 people.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to Rutgers for comment but did not hear back.