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Editorial: In-person commencement the right decision

Despite concerns about COVID-19, Valdosta State University is going ahead with a face-to-face commencement ceremony.

“On Monday, Dec. 14, VSU will host multiple ceremonies at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium,” Valdosta State University President Richard Carvajal said in a video announcement.

According to Dr. Carvajal, the stadium will allow for adequate social distancing and each graduate a designated number of tickets for guests.

This is an excellent decision that Dr. Carvajal and his team have made. Graduation is a very important milestone in a college student’s life and it simply cannot be done virtually like so many other parts of this year’s college experience.

Graduation is not some insignificant ceremony that should be taken away from hardworking students.

As Dr. Carvajal has stated, there will be guidelines in place that will help prevent those in attendance from contracting COVID-19. As long as these guidelines are enforced, then everything should be fine.

If you have seen the video of a mom of a middle school football player being removed from the stands by police for not wearing a mask then we would suggest that the guidelines don’t need to be that strictly enforced. Those in attendance on Dec. 14 should understand the risk they are taking, so we believe the guidelines should be communicated clearly and encouraged, but, as Americans, it doesn’t sit right with us that someone could be forcefully removed from an event for deciding against wearing a mask.

Some could see the decision to go ahead with the commencement in person as a bit reckless, but this ceremony is supposed to be about making memories that will last a lifetime. Follow the guidelines closely if you are worried about contracting COVID-19.

Maybe it is a bit selfish to want to have the commencement face-to-face, but there won’t be another opportunity like this. If everyone does their part in keeping their distance and keeping each other safe, then it can be seen as something accomplished through a team effort rather than a selfish act. Dr. Carvajal and his team’s decision to only allow each graduate a certain number of tickets is a step in the right direction for how to best have a safe and successful commencement.

It would definitely be safer if only graduates were allowed to attend; however, this is not the way the president decided to do it.

We don’t see why students couldn’t have had more of a say in this matter. VSU should have sent out emails polling students on where commencement should be held and who would be allowed to come. Of course, some would have answered with suggestions that couldn’t be considered due to the guidelines that will be in place for the event, but the ones who had good, constructive ideas could have been taken seriously.

Some may see it as irresponsible to allow family and friends to attend, but we believe this will help graduates make the most of their accomplishment.

What is a victory with no one to share it with?

This editorial was written by a member of the editorial staff and expresses the general opinion of The Spectator.

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