By Sarah Brill, Science and Technology Editor
On May 6, 2021, the Committee of Ceremonial Occasions sent out an email to the undergraduate community regarding the time, place, and logistics of the 90th annual commencement ceremony. Seniors will be having their in-person graduation ceremony at the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Queens, on May 26 at 1 p.m. EDT. While initially announced to be virtual, a later update notified the student body that the commencement ceremony will take place in-person, a reversal of the initial decision.
Regarding the number of attendees, during the week of April 26, seniors were asked to request tickets and the email sent out on May 6, addressed the many ticketing concerns of the seniors such as: can additional tickets be requested after submitting the form, and the number of guests which can attend? The email stated that not only would all the tickets previously requested be honored, seniors are allowed to request additional tickets. The email outlined the process of reserved seating, which will allow seniors to, later on, confirm seats for family members so they may sit in a “pod” (group of members who do not need to distance from each other).
Haviva Tirschwell, SCW ‘21, shared with the YU Observer: “I am very excited to celebrate with my friends, and it’s amazing that the commencement committee found a place that can fit so many people so everyone can celebrate without having to decide who to invite.”
The email concluded stating the COVID-19 protocols will be in place to keep everyone at the ceremony safe. The attendees are required to show either proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours before the start of the ceremony, negative COVID-19 rapid test taken within 6 hours of the start of the ceremony (from 7 a.m. onward on the day of the 26), or proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the last three months. All of these documentation requirements can be shown to the designated checker either digitally or in hard copy. Additionally, mask-wearing will be enforced and the ceremony is expected to run for two hours, with initial seating starting at 11:30 a.m.
Tamar Guterson, SCW ‘21, commented on the significance of an in-person event ceremony, “Having an in-person graduation is incredibly important to me and my fellow graduates,” she shared. “The class of 2021 lost half their junior year and the entire senior year we had imagined. Unlike the underclassmen, we were lucky to have a full college experience before COVID changed the landscape of our time at YU; but we also know what we lost”
For those who will not be attending the in-person ceremony, there will be a livestream broadcast, of which seniors who are not attending the ceremony may take part in. There will be live programming and the announcement of the names of graduates.