WATERVILLE — Colby College has officially postponed its May graduation and senior week festivities, but is looking into an alternative way of remotely acknowledging “the talents and achievements of the class.”

In addition, students with on-campus jobs will be paid for the rest of the semester as a part of their room and board reimbursement for the second half of the spring semester.

Those were among the recent announcements from college officials following Colby’s March 12 order that all students who were able should leave campus and finish the semester through remote learning.

Colby College President David Greene on Thursday announced via email that senior week and graduation festivities would be postponed until further notice, and that class reunions will also be delayed.

Colby College President David Greene speaks Oct. 15, 2019, during a forum on an economic impact report in Waterville. Morning Sentinel file photo by Rich Abrahamson

“It has become evident that it would not be safe to call the Class of 2020 and its families together in Waterville on Memorial Day weekend,” Greene wrote in an email to students. “However, that does nothing to diminish our commitment to identifying a time when we can hold a proper commencement and the celebratory activities that accompany it (including senior week activities, if possible) when it is safe for people to travel and gather to recognize the members of this senior class.”

Greene also explained that he is working with senior class leaders and faculty members alike to devise an alternate plan in which to celebrate the college’s graduates on May 24.

“[We] are eager to find a creative and poignant way to mark the moment on the weekend in May that has long been on our calendars,” Greene wrote. “This would not be a virtual graduation ceremony; rather, it would be a way for us to connect from wherever we are in the world and acknowledge the talents and achievements of the class.”

Meanwhile, Karlene Burrell-McRae, dean of the college, made the announcement about students with campus jobs on April 7 in a message to the community.

“There were many people involved in thinking through this process. President Greene and CFO Doug Terp and his team all played significant roles,” Dean Burrell-McRae stated in a recent email to the Echo. “What was most important was that we always kept in mind the question, what could we do to effectively support students so they can do their best to focus on their studies under these extraordinary circumstances? It was an opportunity to use our resources to address some issues of equity and remind students we are committed to their future.”

Students who qualify will receive payment as a part of their room and board reimbursement for the second half of the spring semester. The amount will be calculated based on the average number of hours students spent at work prior to mid-March, and will not exceed 15 hours a week, according to Burrell-McRae.

“I heard from many students that they appreciated the gesture, and many shared the impact this act will have on their lives as they try to complete the semester from home,” Burrell-McRae said. “Some faculty and staff members also shared that they were pleased we were able to support students in this way and remarked that it was a compassionate decision.”

 


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