MSU students petition for summer 2021 graduates to walk in spring

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Photo from @michiganstateu Instagram

On March 9, Michigan State University announced that summer graduates will have to wait until fall 2021 for their commencement ceremony. The ceremonies are for spring 2021 graduates only. 

MSU students have created a petition to let summer 2021 graduates walk. As of March 16, the petition has been signed by more than 1,600 people. 

Michigan State junior Melinda VanMensel said, “My adviser sent me an email that confirmed that I was getting pushed.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Michigan State has decided to schedule multiple graduation ceremonies for each college April 30 through May 2 at various sites on campus. Each graduate will be allowed two guests. 

According to some students’ comments on the petition, many felt blindsided by the decision. 

Melinda VanMensel said, “Initially when I was told the news I was pretty annoyed and upset because I am technically a junior because I have only been in school for three years, so I have been pushing myself really hard to graduate early so that I could graduate with both my roommates who are a year older than me.” 

In the past, summer graduates at MSU were able to walk in the spring ceremony. 

There are other issues with summer graduates being pushed to the fall ceremony. Some are international students and will have already moved out. Other students plan on starting a job right after graduation. 

VanMensel said, “We also have to think about international students and out-of-state students who aren’t going to be around. If I was an international student and I finished my classes in August, but I don’t have a ceremony until December, I am not sticking around.

“I live in an apartment and my lease is up in August, so it was perfect timing.”  

Some students have shared suggestions such as allowing summer graduates to have their own commencement ceremony.

Melinda said, “If they have to push the summer graduates then pushing them to the fall semester, so graduating in December now– doesn’t make any sense because you are just taking a bunch of students that you can’t have graduate at this time and adding them to a whole bunch of students that you are probably going to have an issue with later.

“The thing I was thinking is either first just add in more smaller ceremonies in spring or, at the end of summer semester, have a separate summer graduation ceremony.”

Melinda VanMensel, junior talks about what she wishes MSU did differently announcing that summer graduates would not be able to walk in spring commencement.