Graduations ceremonies which are due to take place in the coming weeks will be limited to just 190 students per ceremony despite the event taking place outside in the Quad beside the Students’ Centre.

In an email to graduating students, UCD said: “After much deliberation, the University has decided to go ahead with in-person conferring ceremonies this autumn. While we would of course wish that all graduands would be able to attend their ceremony, unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic and the prevailing Government guidelines, we must limit attendees to 190 graduands per ceremony.”

With limitations in place, UCD is filling the limited spaces for conferring ceremonies on a “first-come-first-served basis” with “a waiting list in operation”. However, should students be unable to make it to the ceremony after their ceremony being booked out, UCD promised to “facilitate those graduands at an additional ceremony during that week.”

Graduations will take place outside in order to facilitate in-person graduations for students – College Tribune.

In addition to the limited spaces for attendees, UCD will not be allowing guests to come to the upcoming ceremonies, going on to say that “to avoid congestion on campus and to comply with public health guidelines, we ask that you come to campus unaccompanied”.

In order to attend the event, students will be required to show proof of one of the following:

  • having been fully vaccinated,
  • having recovered from Covid preceeding 6 months,
  • or, have a negative PCR test result from no more than 72hrs preceding the event.

Reaction from students to graduations:

This news came just hours after The College Tribune reported that UCD plans to return to in-person teaching for the upcoming semester which will be starting just two weeks after the beginning of graduation ceremonies. Many graduating students who have been impacted by the limits being placed on attendees have noted their disappointment in UCD’s decision.

Speaking to the College Tribune, one student graduating from computer science in UCD said; “On the one hand, I understand that with government restrictions being what they are it’s hard to come to any alternative, but on the other hand, it’s still a sad situation without a clear resolution past what has been organised now. Obviously, the option to postpone graduations could have also been there, but that has its own issues.”

One student said: “Just got an email from UCD saying that guests will not be allowed at graduation ceremonies due to the limit being 190. If we stop in the middle and play a game of hurling can my parents come then?”. The graduation ceremony is counted as a non-essential outdoor event and so is limited under the existing regulations to just 200 people while many sporting events can hold more than that number should the venue be able to host more than 5,000 people.

Some students have voiced their frustrations that graduations will be so limited in attendance when students will be able to return to on-campus teaching inside without social distancing!

Hugh Dooley – News Editor