March 15, 2022 (10:17 PM)

4 min read


Despite the calls for a blended graduation, the graduation ceremonies for both undergraduate and graduate students of Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) would be fully online, as stated in the official memorandum released on March 14.

After the University Academic Council rejected the proposal for a blended graduation ceremony last March 8, SAMAHAN lobbied a petition two days later which was directed to the parents and guardians of the graduating students.

As of March 14, 510 parents and guardians had supported the petition, and the petition would be formally submitted to the admin.

SAMAHAN President Karlo Torreon said it was the responsibility of SAMAHAN to represent the interests of the students and the parents, which is why they heeded the call for a blended graduation ceremony.

“According to the graduating students, they want blended [graduation]. And of course, as SAMAHAN, we have to heed the call of the graduating students,” Torreon told Atenews.

He also added that circumstances such as the declaration of Alert Level 1, CHED  and DOH Memorandums, and other government pronouncements would allow the University to conduct a physical graduation setting.

One of the reasons the University Academic Council mentioned why they rejected the proposal was because of the scare of COVID-19, which Torreon agreed was indeed an issue.

“Although we have the proposal to really counter their fear, that is really their stand, that COVID-19 is present, and I think that is the challenge in this, that technicality. However, we [students and parents] are still really trying to convince them that it is possible because the proposal allows for it,” he said.

The SAMAHAN publicized a Google Drive folder link for everyone to access the contents of the graduation proposal.

Different organizations and student executive councils have also joined the call for a blended graduation set-up on social media with the hashtag #YESToBlendedGraduation.

Proposal rejection gains backlash

On March 8, SAMAHAN announced through its social media platforms that the University Academic Council had rejected the proposal regarding the ‘blended’ graduation setting for the seniors, which had garnered negative reactions online.

“We are saddened by the University Academic Council’s decision earlier today to reject the proposal of the Graduation Committee of which SAMAHAN is a part of, due to the possibility of the graduation ceremony as an event for COVID-19 transmission, and considers the greater interest and safety of every stakeholder in the University,” the statement said.

The tweet garnered a lot of backlashes which questioned the decision made by the council, considering that the Davao City LGU had already lifted most COVID-19 restrictions. Some reactions also pointed out how the graduating batch was also the first set of K-12 students who experienced all the hardships of the new curriculum.

Graduating student Harris Tuyongan was one of the students who was disappointed by the admin’s rejection of the proposal. The graduation was not just for him, but for his parents, who sacrificed for his education.

“I understand their concerns about the health emergency we are having right now. Still, they should listen to the sentiments of the graduating students as they deserve this after many challenges and struggles that they faced,” Tuyongan mentioned.

Ailene Tagorda, a graduating student, was also shocked after SAMAHAN posted the announcement. She was frustrated with the admin’s decision despite the lifting of the restrictions.

“The past two years in the pandemic have been difficult for the batch, given that most of the hands-on subjects as well as the internship were forcibly taken online. A face-to-face graduation (following strict protocols) would be more than enough for us. It’s something that would serve as a symbol of our hard work all these years,” she said.

Tuyongan and Tagorda are among the graduating seniors who hope the administration will reconsider the graduation set-up, so that the graduation they have been advocating for a long time will finally take place.

End the silence of the gagged!

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