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University of East Anglia cancels graduations due to coronavirus outbreak

PUBLISHED: 17:55 26 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:55 26 March 2020

UEA has been forced to cancel its final year students graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

UEA has been forced to cancel its final year students graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A Norwich university has been forced to cancel its final year students’ graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus outbreak.

UEA has been forced to cancel its final year students graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYUEA has been forced to cancel its final year students graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The University of East Anglia announced the move in a campus-wide email on Thursday afternoon.

Students have called on the vice-chancellor to guarantee the events would be rescheduled.

READ MORE: UEA frees students from rent amid strict rules for those who remain

The email, sent on Thursday, March 26, stated: “It is with great sadness that I have had to take the decision to cancel July’s graduation ceremonies, which were due to take place July 15 to 22.”

Professor David Richardson, vice-chancellor, added: “I want to assure you that this decision has not been taken lightly.

“I hope you will appreciate that I am taking responsible action during these unprecedented times.

READ MORE: UEA producing 500 litres of sanitiser a day with help from Adnams

“We unfortunately cannot make specific alternative arrangements at this time, but we will explore if there are options in the future to mark and celebrate your hard work when we are in a position to do so.”

Exams and teaching have been moved online and students who meet degree requirements will receive their certificates by post.

Chris Matthews, an English and creative writing student, said: “I completely understand why graduation can’t go ahead in July.

“People’s safety is the priority in this pandemic.”

Mr Matthews, 22, added: “I’m absolutely gutted though. We’ve all worked hard for three years, and it would have been our chance to celebrate that. Instead we’ll receive a note in the post.”

And Jessica Barrett, studying English Literature, said: “The cancellation is devastating news for final year students at UEA.

“I appreciate the university cannot guarantee when and if a new ceremony will take place.

READ MORE: UEA producing 500 litres of sanitiser a day with help from Adnams

“I feel that final year students have been left with so many of their questions unanswered.”

A petition calling on the university to guarantee final year students a graduation received more than 500 signatures in its first hour.

The petition, on campaign site change.org, stated: “Final year students have lost the last months of their university experience as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and now our graduation is at risk too.

“Lots of universities are in the process of rescheduling ceremonies for late 2020.

“This petition asks for the vice-chancellor to guarantee us a graduation ceremony.

“We’ve worked too hard for our degrees to be merely posted to us.”

READ MORE: Somebody has created the UEA campus on Minecraft - but nobody knows who

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