I trust that this email finds you, as well as your family in good health.
On September 10th, myself as well as the other graduands of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, class of 2020, received an email from the director, Mr. Nigel Scott, to which included the protocols of the graduation ceremony. This email was following the announcement of one (1) guest being allowed to be present.
I speak on behalf of myself and most of my fellow graduands, if not all, when I say that your protocols involve hypocrisy and does not appear to be investigated in the proper manner in which we deserve. I bring to your attention the St. Vincent Girls High School as well as the St. Joseph Convent Kingstown graduation to which both happened recently. Both of which did not possess the strict protocols the college’s graduation carries. The protocols to which you have outlined were based on what the administration thinks is best and not in the best interest of us, the graduands. I received word that both secondary schools graduation listed above, carried guests and not a guest. I also hasten to remind you that these are election times and social distancing does not seem to be an issue for any election-oriented event held and providing it isn’t an issue for the higher heads, why must we suffer and have such strict protocols?
I ask that I do not, in any way, be misunderstood. I know that these are difficult times and that the COVID-19 pandemic exists, the protocols outlined just do not serve justice to the graduating class of 2020, especially after two years of hard work. For students who are dedicated to bettering their future, the college requirements and syllabus are not necessarily the alphabet to an adult. Some of us do in fact have parents, some of us have a parent as well as a guardian and some of us have a team of people who did in fact help us through our tertiary education duration. I do not need to remind you of those whom are less fortunate and had multiple people assisting them with school and made it to the end but cannot invite everyone who was there, as a way of saying thank you. I insist on reminding you of how much we brag about St. Vincent being a country of unity and a village raising a child.
I take the time out to list said protocols below and explain how much of an injustice they serve:
- Graduands are allowed one guest: Some of us are grounded within the love and unity of family and were supported by them throughout our time within the institution. It is unfair in many ways to choose one person when they all equally contributed to our time and studies. \
- Having to go through all the trouble outlined to have that one guest there does not necessarily help. While I understand the need for identification in some ways, what if my one guest by chance runs into a problem and forgets their identification? they are not allowed to enter the campus because of this and it adds to the unfair protocol of only having one person allowed there. We cannot even ask for a backup because of this.
- The process of checking vehicles upon arrival: Although I do not find any logical understanding in the decision of one guest, If we are in fact allowed one, why can’t family members wait in the vehicles until the ceremony is over for their loved one? Families live within the same home, friends would be together in a vehicle, how does this affect social distancing? And why can’t my family wait until I am finished with the graduation ceremony? After all the GHS graduation, SJCK graduation as well as the Police Force’s graduation allowed guests and did not carry such strict protocols. I ask that you be reminded the police force’s graduation is one of a national level and not a college as small as us.
- The compound must be left after the diploma is collected: The Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies does not carry a small campus in which everybody has to be at the same space or amongst each other if the goal in this protocol is social distancing. Some people have intentions to leave the state the day after graduation, some classmates would never see each other again. It is not a case where people attending graduation would not be screened or wearing masks, why is the ability to talk to friends after two (2) years of completion not an option and congratulating classmates to whom we have personal knowledge of were struggling in school?
I bring my email to termination with this: The protocols of which you have outlined do not serve us justice and the student body, the graduands, deserve better. I ask that you do a deep investigation into other graduations and political events held recently, some, might I add, where the prime minister was present and saw no issue. If the problem at hand is the venue, we can pattern other graduations and move to the Arnos Vale sporting complex or a bigger venue than the DASGS campus, after all, not all students who were supposed graduate chose the option which made the list smaller. The graduation you have visibly envisioned is not serving justice to us. While I agree with some of the protocols you have outlined, others are just inconsiderate and biased.
In the next meeting held, I hope it could be in the best interest of us as graduands, after investigation of other graduations as well as events held since the COVID-19 pandemic such as parties, political events, etc. and to give us the graduation in which we deserve.
ULRICK L. NERO
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