UBC unexpectedly changed the dates of its in-person celebrations for the Class of 2020, 2021. Now this international student can't attend.

UBC will hold in-person celebrations for graduates from the Classes of 2020 and 2021, but a recent change in the dates has left some students frustrated.

In early March, graduates from 2020 and 2021 received an email from UBC stating the university was planning to host an in-person celebration for them in September in conjunction with Homecoming weekend. But, in an email sent in early May, UBC said the celebrations would be pushed back to November.

This has led to confusion amongst students online, some of whom only received news about a planned ceremony in September, and others who never received that original message.

For Anna Tørnros, a 2020 graduate who currently lives in the UK, this recent change could mean she will miss the in-person celebration.

Tørnros had purchased tickets for herself and her family to come to Vancouver in September after receiving the March email regarding the planned celebrations.

“The dates were indicated in clear and definite wording . . . at no point in the email was it mentioned that those dates would be up for debate,” she said.

Tørnros said she also replied to the March email a few weeks later to confirm the dates before booking her tickets.

“The answer included a word of congratulations on graduating, and a promise that more info would be coming soon, but no indication that anything was subject to change,” she said.

In an email sent to The Ubyssey, Liz King, director of Ceremonies and Events, shared that alumni who graduated virtually in 2020 and 2021 were invited in March to participate in a survey that would “guide the planning of special in-person graduation events.”

She said “the dates that were previously listed [in March] … were general timeframes”, but recognized that “the wording of the email was confusing for recipients [and that] … [UBC] sincerely apologies for … any resulting scheduling conflicts.”

“The ceremony schedule will be developed based on responses to the first round of RSVPs that will be collected in late June, [with a] final schedule with specific dates … [released] by late August,” she added.

Tørnros said she hoped the situation would be resolved so she can celebrate her graduation with her friends and family. However, while an email received at the end of May from UBC Ceremonies & Events included an apology for any confusion which may have been caused, there was no offer of compensation.

“Especially when you’re an international student and have put so much money into a degree, and when cultures expect so much of you academically, graduation can be really important, and to me, it carries a lot of weight,” she said.