Canterbury University sparks outrage among students drops December graduation

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 06, 2023 |

Canterbury University has cancelled its much celebrated December graduations angering students.

It said it will hold two graduation weeks throughout the year, with celebration events now held during the Autumn and Spring mid-semester breaks.

In a statement, Canterbury University said this was to ensure graduates and their family and friends can celebrate their achievements together.

“Removing December graduation helps to relieve some time and financial constraints of attendees and allows us to provide a larger venue.”

The statement said “Autumn and Spring graduations are outside of the busy, often pressured end of the year. It shows manaakitanga by empowering UC graduates to have more time to celebrate with friends and whānau.”

It said “It demonstrates tiakitanga by enhancing mana and reducing the risk of disappointing those who are unable to graduate due to grades or completions not being confirmed in time for a graduation ceremony.”

“And it shows whanaungatanga, by ensuring parents and whānau can make, time-critical decisions about travel and accommodation. It also allows academic documentation for those who complete, to be readily available to graduates for both employment and registration purposes.”

One student told Chris Lynch Media “the statement was a load of rubbish and I was looking forward to end of year celebrations.”

Another felt that the university’s utilisation of Maori culture as a pretext to cancel the December event was not only disheartening but also deeply disrespectful towards the cultural significance of Maori traditions.

The University said demand for graduation ceremonies had increased over 30% in the last 10 years.

 An increase in student numbers and a short timeframe between final exams and December ceremony dates meant celebrations were held very close to Christmas, adding pressure to our graduates, their whānau and friends trying to fit private and professional commitments alongside graduation.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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