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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Chicago suburbs

    Duke 2020 Graduation weekend disappointment

    My alma mater is not instilling confidence in its 2020 graduates. First world problems but a rant follows...

    I understand that the pandemic has made planning events large and small difficult at best. Duke is not handling the 2020 graduation well at all. Communication has only been directly to graduates, infrequent, and lacking detail. For instance, it has been mentioned that anyone attending must be fully vaccinated but no indication of how that will be monitored/enforced.

    My daughter graduated in 2020. Understandably, she had an abrupt end to her time at Duke and a virtual graduation two months later. Duke has continued to state that it was committed to honoring the 2020 graduates with an on campus ceremony.

    In late May 2021 graduates received a save the date email for September 24-26, 2021, details to follow. A schedule of events with registration link was not emailed to graduates until mid July and requested registration by mid August. A Friday evening welcome reception, Midnight gathering in the cafeteria on East Campus, and a Tailgate before the Duke-Kansas football game on Saturday. All student graduation ceremony on Sunday morning.

    Clearly a streamlined weekend (lacking Baccalaureate, department events, etc..) but offering several opportunities for events offering casual & unplanned meetings with their classmates who were dispersed without warning. Remember that during spring break of their senior year they received notice not to return to campus.

    Today, 9 days prior to those Friday events graduates received an email stating that all of those events have been cancelled. Graduation is still on for Sunday at 9:00 am in Abele Quad but the university is no longer providing any group gathering for 2020 graduates. The only "group" event on the schedule is the Duke-Kansas football game and they are offering concessions vouchers since the tailgate has been cancelled. In my mind, wandering Wallace Wade searching for other 2020 grads is not a graduation event.

    They are left to plan their own weekend. Duke could at least provided a list of classmates who have registered so that attendees would have a chance to reach out beforehand and try to arrange some time/place to connect over the weekend. So far nothing of the kind has been provided or even alluded to.

    Clearly the Delta variant is a major curveball, but Duke had over a year to plan prior to the late May "save the date" announcement and another six weeks before the event schedule release in mid July.

    If you mandate that everyone attending must be vaccinated shouldn't there be a way to find venues on/around campus that can accommodate an outdoor welcome reception and tailgate allowing for adequate social distancing?

    If you pick a weekend without a home football game then you have Wallace Wade available all weekend as a location. Even if ALL 2020 graduates returned with 3 guests(a number they could limit) that is what 24,000 to 40,000 people? Nowhere near that many people would actually attend. I do not have any data on planned attendance because Duke hasn't shared any registration numbers with graduates.

    End of rant. I am very disappointed that my alma mater has managed this so poorly.


    - Ranidad

  2. #2
    Sorry to hear this.

    I wish I could say I was surprised, but Iím not.

    Duke has made other decisions/actions that have really ticked me off, but donít want to derail this thread.

    That being said, I donít disagree with the decisions to cancel the other events given where we are with Covid. It sounds like it definitely could have been handled better and perhaps rescheduled for another time.

  3. #3
    So what group events is Duke allowing? Just football? I can think of financial reasons why that might be so, but it seems inconsistent with barring other large student gatherings.
    Aren't they back to in-person teaching, too, though? Aren't there some large lectures in intro courses with over 50 people?

    If FB games are OK to hold in person with crowds, maybe they should have worked graduation into one - during time-outs, halftime, etc.
    Or after the game.

  4. #4
    Sorry Ranidad, that sounds terrible. An important moment in any young person's life diminished by poor planning and excuses.
    Looks like the alumni association decided to punt the Class of 2020 donations going forward.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Manhattan
    Iím so sorry to hear about this. Duke dropped the ball here, big time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya
    The solution is so simple it's annoying. Be vaccinated or don't come. We're not going to let the 20% ruin it for the 80%. We'll send you a Zoom link so you can watch everyone enjoying themselves.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Princeton, NJ
    Quote Originally Posted by dudog84 View Post
    The solution is so simple it's annoying. Be vaccinated or don't come. We're not going to let the 20% ruin it for the 80%. We'll send you a Zoom link so you can watch everyone enjoying themselves.
    They've already done that. Attendees are required to be vaccinated. That didn't stop them from canceling most of the events.

  8. #8
    "Football is Liiiiiife!!"
    -Dani Rojas

    Sorry to hear about this....Sometimes there is not consistent logic, empathy, and transparency involved in the decision-making, which is frustrating.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North of Durham
    Quote Originally Posted by Ranidad View Post
    My alma mater is not instilling confidence in its 2020 graduates. First world problems but a rant follows...

    I understand that the pandemic has made planning events large and small difficult at best. Duke is not handling the 2020 graduation well at all. Communication has only been directly to graduates, infrequent, and lacking detail. For instance, it has been mentioned that anyone attending must be fully vaccinated but no indication of how that will be monitored/enforced.

    My daughter graduated in 2020. Understandably, she had an abrupt end to her time at Duke and a virtual graduation two months later. Duke has continued to state that it was committed to honoring the 2020 graduates with an on campus ceremony.

    In late May 2021 graduates received a save the date email for September 24-26, 2021, details to follow. A schedule of events with registration link was not emailed to graduates until mid July and requested registration by mid August. A Friday evening welcome reception, Midnight gathering in the cafeteria on East Campus, and a Tailgate before the Duke-Kansas football game on Saturday. All student graduation ceremony on Sunday morning.

    Clearly a streamlined weekend (lacking Baccalaureate, department events, etc..) but offering several opportunities for events offering casual & unplanned meetings with their classmates who were dispersed without warning. Remember that during spring break of their senior year they received notice not to return to campus.

    Today, 9 days prior to those Friday events graduates received an email stating that all of those events have been cancelled. Graduation is still on for Sunday at 9:00 am in Abele Quad but the university is no longer providing any group gathering for 2020 graduates. The only "group" event on the schedule is the Duke-Kansas football game and they are offering concessions vouchers since the tailgate has been cancelled. In my mind, wandering Wallace Wade searching for other 2020 grads is not a graduation event.

    They are left to plan their own weekend. Duke could at least provided a list of classmates who have registered so that attendees would have a chance to reach out beforehand and try to arrange some time/place to connect over the weekend. So far nothing of the kind has been provided or even alluded to.

    Clearly the Delta variant is a major curveball, but Duke had over a year to plan prior to the late May "save the date" announcement and another six weeks before the event schedule release in mid July.

    If you mandate that everyone attending must be vaccinated shouldn't there be a way to find venues on/around campus that can accommodate an outdoor welcome reception and tailgate allowing for adequate social distancing?

    If you pick a weekend without a home football game then you have Wallace Wade available all weekend as a location. Even if ALL 2020 graduates returned with 3 guests(a number they could limit) that is what 24,000 to 40,000 people? Nowhere near that many people would actually attend. I do not have any data on planned attendance because Duke hasn't shared any registration numbers with graduates.

    End of rant. I am very disappointed that my alma mater has managed this so poorly.


    - Ranidad
    So basically they lost the end of their senior years and graduation (understandably) and now when they had some hope of having something else, that is getting yanked from them for less good reasons? Bad form by Duke. If you're going to do it, do it right. And in this age of covid, have really good backup plans in place. Especially because now the vast majority of people are spending time (away from jobs, grad school, etc.) and money to come to this event.

    It seems like Duke is constantly raising tuition to fund a growing number of bureaucrats, then this increased number of bureaucrats drops the ball. If I am paying for a luxury good, I expect luxury service. And by luxury service I mean competent operations, not another overpriced on-campus eatery or climbing wall.

    Someone should track alumni giving levels for the class of 2020 going forward compared to other classes. Sounds like they will be way down.

  10. #10
    It wouldn't be close to the same but, if your daughter and any of her classmates are in the KC metro area, I'd be happy to sponsor a celebratory graduation dinner for them. They should know that others think what they accomplished is great and welcome them as alumnae of Duke University.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston area, OK, Newton, right by Heartbreak Hill
    I'm sorry Duke messed up the graduation for the Class of 2020. When it comes to normal college experiences, today's students in general, and the Class of 2020 in particular, drew the short straw. I'd say the same for high school too. Graduating from anything in 2020 was the worst.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Watching carolina Go To HELL!
    Quote Originally Posted by dudog84 View Post
    The solution is so simple it's annoying. Be vaccinated or don't come. We're not going to let the 20% ruin it for the 80%. We'll send you a Zoom link so you can watch everyone enjoying themselves.
    Quote Originally Posted by freshmanjs View Post
    They've already done that. Attendees are required to be vaccinated. That didn't stop them from canceling most of the events.
    I wish they'd require being vaccinated to attend the games (and our tailgate)! Actually, being vaccinated to step anywhere on campus, including walking past our tailgate.

    Sorry for the screwed up graduation events for this weekend. I really am.
    Ozzie, your paradigm of optimism!

    Go To Hell carolina, Go To Hell!
    9F 9F 9F
    http://www.EGLEW.com


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Princeton, NJ
    Quote Originally Posted by OZZIE4DUKE View Post
    I wish they'd require being vaccinated to attend the games (and our tailgate)! Actually, being vaccinated to step anywhere on campus, including walking past our tailgate.

    Sorry for the screwed up graduation events for this weekend. I really am.
    I agree! I love Duke and I love Duke athletics. However, I just cannot understand why Athletics is getting treated as such an outlier compared to the rest of the University. They should absolutely require vax to attend football.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Chicago suburbs
    Thanks to the posters for their support of my post that the 2020 Duke graduates deserve better.

    Agreed. The football game goes on but graduation events, even under greater restrictions (vax required) are cancelled. A blatant demonstration that the $$ in football broadcast rights hold more power at Duke than the universityís interest in valuing its graduates and their potential future support of the university in all realms, including donations.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston area, OK, Newton, right by Heartbreak Hill
    Quote Originally Posted by freshmanjs View Post
    I agree! I love Duke and I love Duke athletics. However, I just cannot understand why Athletics is getting treated as such an outlier compared to the rest of the University. They should absolutely require vax to attend football.
    It's not new.

  16. #16
    Requiring vaccinations for football games would slow the new (and hyped) accelerated stadium entry process. It was so much easier when there was a hole in the fence. With beer now available and (presumably) masks not required when eating and drinking, beer sales should be brisk, and mask wearing at a minimum. Let's go Duke!

    Re graduation weekend, the origin of this thread: I do sympathize but I remember zero about my Duke graduation, I'd be guessing about the speaker. One of my kids was so baked in the Wallace Wade sun that she almost didn't make it through hers. Seriously, the departmental ceremony was much more meaningful/intimate and something Duke perhaps could have done better.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya
    Hmmm. I got an email tonight from the Alumni Association to "Save the Date!" for Homecoming the first weekend in November. "...we plan what we hope will be a weekend filled with in-person, pre-game festivities, exciting programming, socializing, and more."

    Explain that one to me.

  18. #18
    Yeah, Iím not going to be putting that one in the calendar in pen.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by dudog84 View Post
    Hmmm. I got an email tonight from the Alumni Association to "Save the Date!" for Homecoming the first weekend in November. "...we plan what we hope will be a weekend filled with in-person, pre-game festivities, exciting programming, socializing, and more."

    Explain that one to me.
    The answer to all your questions is "money"

    Quote Originally Posted by acdevil View Post
    Yeah, Iím not going to be putting that one in the calendar in pen.
    You use a paper calendar? I'm usually the most retro, slow-to-adopt person around, but I bow to you!

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by cspan37421 View Post
    The answer to all your questions is "money"



    You use a paper calendar? I'm usually the most retro, slow-to-adopt person around, but I bow to you!
    Metaphorically speaking of course.

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