Students set to graduate from high school and college were deprived of more than the final semester of classes. High school students were left with the uncertainty of the weight of that diploma, the loss of sports related scholarships for some, and the great big question mark about how this all would translate into their start of college. College students were left with a closed job market as well as the loss of a final semester of classes. Some of them lost the graduation ceremony. Some, but not others. At least at one self-proclaimed Lutheran college.
exercises at the prestigious ELCA related St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN were cancelled because of the coronavirus
pandemic. The school's official notice suggested the graduation will be "rescheduled for a date in late May/early June of
2021," according to the school's website. But from the Taylor Center for Equity and
Inclusion at the school came the announcement of three virtual graduation
ceremonies (Campus Reform reported) for a special group of St. Olaf graduates. These virtual
graduation ceremonies are exclusively for "self-identified domestic students of color,
international students, and LGBTQIA+ students" and will occur at the end of this school
year. All other students must wait until 2021 for their pomp and
event acknowledges the value and uniqueness of students' experience and
serves to commemorate and highlight the accomplishments of individuals
within their familial and cultural context," the email said, according
to the outlet.
Campus Reform added that the three ceremonies
will be called the multicultural, international, and lavender
graduations and are intended for students of color, international
students, and LGBTQ students, respectively. So what are we to think? Which students are at the heart of this college's identity -- one they insist is "nourished by Lutheran tradition"?