On Wednesday, Dec. 11, Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox sent a campus-wide email announcing that the 2020 commencement ceremonies will remain on campus. The full list of dates and times will be posted on the UCR Commencement website before the end of this month.
In his email, Wilcox stated that the Commencement Working Group reviewed substantial survey data and logistical information and engaged in robust and spirited discussion. The group’s consensus was that the campus should maintain the same format in 2020 that was in place in 2019, while recognizing that graduates may receive a limited number of guest tickets and that the current venue conditions are less than ideal. “Although there may be creative ways to improve the current format, the group determined there isn’t sufficient time to fully prepare alternatives for the 2020 commencement ceremonies,” stated Wilcox.
Wilcox added, “I have accepted the working group’s recommendation to keep the 2020 commencement ceremonies on campus … I am very grateful to the hundreds of students, alumni, staff, and faculty that have provided input thus far.” He also stated that the broad engagement of campus stakeholders has yielded a positive and open dialogue and he looks forward to everyone’s recommendations and participation in future commencement ceremonies.
“I am hopeful that our collective efforts will help us identify and implement a set of high-quality commencement ceremonies that celebrate our campus and distinctive student body. In closing, I wish to acknowledge the time and contributions of the working group members (listed below), as they continue to deliberate upon options for the future,” wrote Wilcox. Members of the working group included Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Brian Haynes, who served as co-chair of the working group, along with Dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Kathryn Uhrich.
ASUCR President Julian Gonzalez also served on the working group. In October of 2019, Gonzalez created a petition on change.org to keep the traditional location and ceremony for the 2020 UCR Commencement. The petition received 32,624 signatures. Gonzalez did not respond to The Highlander’s requests for comment regarding Wilcox’s decision to keep commencement on campus.
On Thursday, Dec. 12, Gonzalez announced on the change.org that the petition was a victory. He wrote, “UC Riverside, (sic) will have Commencement 2020 on campus and students names will be read. Furthermore, students will now be involved in the decision making process for future ceremonies! Thank you to everyone for the support. To the UC Riverside student body, thank you for the fight you all contributed to having your voices be heard.”