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Students’ Unions across Ireland will this morning (Thursday) write to the heads of their universities and colleges calling for institutions to Give Us Our Grad!

In partnership with the Union of Students in Ireland, SU Presidents are imploring institutions to be creative and not to cancel in-person graduations and move them online but to give graduands and their families safe in-person graduation ceremonies and events.

USI has prepared the below open letter to the heads of HEIs across Ireland:

Dear Heads of HEIs,

The Union of Students in Ireland, which represents 374,000 students, is writing to you in partnership with local Students’ Unions and students across the island of Ireland to seek confirmation that plans are being made for safe, in-person graduation events for the classes of 2020 and 2021.

We understand that you may not yet be in a position to commit to a format for this year’s graduation ceremonies, however we are writing to implore the institution to be creative and not to cancel in-person graduations and move them online.

Students feel that the commitment and preparations to return to on-campus activity should include graduation ceremonies and events. There is an expectation, under best practice student engagement and partnership, to communicate and consult with the Students’ Union when creating these plans.

It is understood that these might not yet return to a pre-pandemic format, but in-person graduations are possible within the current public health guidelines and with graduations not due to take place for a number of weeks or months, the guidelines may be eased further.

As you know, after years of hard work and sacrifice, graduations are hugely important to students and their families and that is the case more so than ever after the difficulties of the last 18 months.

There has been a significant uptake of vaccinations in Ireland, including among the younger cohorts, who make up a large section of our student populations. This should also be factored in when the format for graduations is being decided upon.

While greatly disappointed, everyone understood the need to cancel in-person graduations last year and move online, but this year the public health landscape is very different due to the hard work of everyone, including students.

We are seeking a commitment that you will endeavour to hold in-person graduations this autumn and winter and work with student representatives to decide on the format of these events.

Union of Students in Ireland, 19.08.2021