GPSA discusses WSU’s path to normality

WSU administrator says university will host system-wide virtual graduation this spring, fall schedule confirmed by mid-March

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MEETING SCREENSHOT

GPSA senators raised concerns about first-generation college students who would miss out on their opportunity to walk at graduation during the pandemic.

TIMOTHY FAIRBANKS-CLOUSER, Evergreen news editor

A faculty guest speaker addressed concerns about WSU’s system-wide virtual graduation this spring and its plan for fall 2021 during the GPSA Senate meeting Monday evening.

WSU issued a memo to faculty and students Monday afternoon via email, detailing the university’s intention to host a system-wide virtual graduation ceremony, as well as a plan to return to in-person classes this fall. Lisa Gloss, WSU Graduate School dean, said the memo was supposed to go out last week, but administrators pulled it for further discussion. 

GPSA senators raised concerns about first-generation college students who would miss out on their opportunity to walk at graduation during the pandemic.

Gloss said students could defer their opportunity to walk at graduation until they see fit. 

The option has been available to students even before the pandemic started. Gloss said one person last year walked at graduation after finishing his degree 40 years earlier.

She doubts there will be any in-person aspect to graduation this May. Gloss said she is excited about the new experience but hopes WSU can soon return to an in-person graduation ceremony.

“It wasn’t as good as being able to shake your hand and hand you your diploma,” she said.

Gloss said the university will notify faculty and students about the fall schedule by mid-March. 

“Unfortunately, when you’re an administrator at a university, you have a plan, but they don’t give you a crystal ball,” she said.

Gloss asked for everyone’s patience as the university’s administrators continue to discuss when WSU will be able to return to some degree of normality. 

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee is proposing that up to $3 million of unallocated university funds not be invested in WSU Athletics, said GPSA President Jenn Johnson. Faculty members asked her to reach out to GPSA senators for feedback about the proposal.