‘A total disgrace!’ Graduates bemoan UG ceremony at Sophia Centre


What was supposed to be a shorter and more comfortable graduation ceremony turned out to be far from that, when the second part of the University of Guyana’s 51st Convocation was hosted at the Sophia Exhibition Centre on Saturday evening.

The ceremony was initially slated for the University’s campus; however, it was announced on Thursday that the venue will be changed due to inclement weather.

The main auditorium for the ceremony was not only filled to capacity, forcing relatives and friends of the graduating class to sit on the lawns and other areas, but it also lacked proper ventilation. 

Graduates were observed exiting the building before the conclusion of the ceremony–some even complained of not being able to view what was happening on the stage.

Some students have also taken to Facebook today (Sunday, November 12, 2017) to express their grievances.

Attendees sitting outside of the Main Auditorium (photo by Facebook user)

One student, Remona Graham who graduated with a BSc in International Relations related: “What a total disgrace and embarrassment.  My family sat outside and had to run with the chairs they secured when the showers of rain started.  They couldn’t even see me strut across the stage when my name was called.”

Persons rushing to take shelter from the rain

News Room was also there and observed persons running with their chairs to find shelter under other facilities at the Exhibition Complex when the rain started at about 18:00hrs.

Additionally, some persons were seen trying to get a glimpse of their loved ones going onstage through the vents at the back of the auditorium.  The students bemoaned the fact of having paid $10,000 each and still had to put up with what they described as a “disgraceful” situation without an apology from those in charge.

Graham in her post noted that “the entire planning committee needs to be sacked for the gross disregard in which our Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates were bestowed.”

One other student related that the School of Medicine was left out of the convocation list.

Some 2,000 students graduated from the University on Saturday. The first ceremony was hosted at the National Cultural Centre at 10:00hrs for the Faculties of Agriculture and Forestry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Technology, followed by the second ceremony at 15:00hrs for the Faculties of Education and Humanities, Health Sciences, and Social Sciences.

Section of 2017 Graduating class at the Main Auditorium, Sophia Exhibition Complex. (DPI photo)

Concerns were also raised about the Vice Chancellor’s Ball which was hosted on Thursday (November 09, 2017) at the Umana Yana—another facility too small for such an event forcing persons to spend their time standing outside of the building, dressed in their formal attire.

The university’s Berbice campus will be hosting its Convocation, where more than 200 students will graduate on November 18.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education, the extra-mural arm of the university, is scheduled to hold its graduation ceremonies for its four centers as follows: Georgetown Center on November 25; Linden Center on November 26; Anna Regina Center on December 2 and the New Amsterdam Center on December 9, 2017.

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