Facing backlash, U-M Dearborn reinstates Winter Commencement

Sunday, August 18, 2019 - 1:51pm

University of Michigan-Dearborn provost Catherine A. Davy recently announced a reinstatement of winter commencement for December 2019.

University of Michigan-Dearborn provost Catherine A. Davy recently announced a reinstatement of winter commencement for December 2019. Buy this photo
Alexis Rankin/Daily

University of Michigan-Dearborn will no longer host winter commencement ceremonies starting in December 2021, according to Catherine A. Davy, U-M Dearborn provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

The decision, which was announced via Facebook on the U-M Dearborn account Saturday morning, followed an initial statement made less than 24 hours earlier explaining the school would be cancelling winter commencement starting this December. 

The original date was modified to 2021 due to extensive backlash from students, who expressed their concern over social media. 

According to Davy, the University’s decision to cut down to only one commencement ceremony is in an effort to redirect funds for student’s benefit.

“Moving to one ceremony will allow for substantial financial savings that will be redirected to increase student financial aid and support student success initiatives,” Davy wrote.

In response to the initial decision, students cited the timing of the announcement as a chief concern. Nadine Jones, an incoming second semester senior at U-M Dearborn, expressed her dissatisfaction with the school’s decision to cancel commencement at such short notice. 

“This is truly unfair for our school to make this decision 4 months before graduation,” Jones wrote in a Facebook post before the decision to cancel the 2019 ceremony was recanted. “They need to let us have our ceremony and make the change to one ceremony a year after this.”

Davy wrote in a post from the U-M Dearborn account, the decision to reinstate winter commencement for December 2019 was in response to student feedback. 

“University leadership has read every email and social media post related to the decision to eliminate the December commencement ceremony,” Davy said in the Facebook post. 

Jill Chernavage, a U-M Dearborn student set to graduate this winter, explained she was glad the school decided to host winter commencement in 2019, but was still dissatisfied with the way the University handled the decision. 

“I think that they were wrong to not consult us in the first place and then make the abrupt decision to cancel it completely,” Chernavage said in a Facebook message to The Daily. “I’m glad they came to their sense(s) and decided to fix this mess because they would have continued to get backlash through this upcoming semester.” 

Kenneth Kettenbeil, U-M Dearborn vice chancellor for external relations, confirmed in an email to The Daily that the decision to cancel the December 2019 commencement ceremony has been reversed. 

After 2021, Dearborn students who would otherwise graduate in December will have the option of participating in commencement the spring prior to their December graduation date or in the spring following it.