‘There are people who have waited their entire lives for this’: Kean University cancels commencement ceremony

Kean University has decided to cancel its commencement ceremony, and instead hold a virtual celebration due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that's not sitting well with thousands of students.

News 12 Staff

Apr 9, 2020, 12:37 PM

Updated 1,466 days ago

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Kean University has decided to cancel its commencement ceremony, and instead hold a virtual celebration due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that's not sitting well with thousands of students.
Kathryn Latona, of Toms River, is one of the students set to graduate in May after attending the Kean - Ocean County campus.
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Latona, as well as every other student set to graduate, received an email from Kean University President Dawood Farah, who, in part, wrote, "We have come to the difficult but necessary decision to hold a virtual commencement event in late spring for all of our incredible 2020 graduates. Our virtual commencement will be different from our annual tradition but is being planned to be equally celebratory and inspiring. We will work to ensure each student who wishes to participate is recognized for their achievements."
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"There are people who have waited their entire lives for this,” says Latona. “They are single mothers, single fathers, to go to this university that want to show their children like they can do it."
Latona says two petitions have started in an effort to simply postpone the ceremony and not cancel or in this case, have a virtual commencement. One of them already has more than 7,000 signatures.
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Latona says in no way are they downplaying the coronavirus pandemic and certainly understand a postponement, they simply do not agree with not having the ceremony at all.
Margaret McCorry, director of media relations at Kean University, did respond to a request for comment, saying, “We are looking at other ways to celebrate the Class of 2020, including developing a virtual event for our grads. We have a team of people dedicated to creating an experience that is both celebratory and unique. While it won't be the same as our traditional ceremonies, it will set this class apart from all others for generations to come as the brave and resilient Class of 2020."


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