Students have criticised the University of Lincoln’s decision not to offer a face-to-face graduation ceremony until April 2022.

Photo: University of Lincoln website

Graduation normally takes place in September at Lincoln Cathedral. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the university has stated “it will not be possible to deliver an in-person physical graduation in 2021”.

As a result, it has left graduates of 2020 and 2021 questioning whether they will be able to fulfil their university experience by having a graduation ceremony.

The university has offered students two choices, but many have expressed their disappointment at the situation.

An email sent to students said: “Continuing to wait is not an option for everyone and we would therefore like to offer anyone who would like to graduate in 2021 the opportunity to do so.

“We are planning a series of fantastic virtual graduation ceremonies for September this year and you are invited to register.

“If you would prefer to wait for when the University may be able to hold a physical graduation ceremony, Government guidance permitting, you can do so. We are provisionally hoping that this may be possible in April 2022.

“When we are closer to the date and have more information, students will be able to register to attend on a first-come, first-served basis once bookings open.”

A petition calling on the university to reconsider has already been launched, gaining 4,048 signatures at the time of writing.

In a poll by The Linc, the majority of respondents said they were not happy with the decision.

Harry Badman, who launched the petition alongside his friend, said: “Initially, I was disappointed and sad, then overwhelmingly angry.

Lincoln Cathedral. Photo credit: Bethany Lee

“I think they are being overly cautious. They are happy to open the summer festival, campus buildings and club nights, but don’t think it’s safe to hold graduation.

“The suggestion that tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis is simply not acceptable – the end of your university experience should not depend on a lottery.”

Mr Badman, like many other students, wants the university to reassess the situation.

He said: “I absolutely believe that the university needs to seriously reconsider their decision and pay attention to what is being said by the students.

“The students want and deserve a proper graduation ceremony in the cathedral.”

Another student added on Facebook: “Uni students are hanging on by a thread and this was what we’ve been looking forward to.”