As a Seneca alumnus, I am surprised that this ‘vaccine mandate’ is put in place for a make-shift celebratory ceremony dedicated towards graduates. As a journalism graduate back in 2021, I accepted that there would be no ceremony because we were in the middle of a “state of emergency” due to the COVID pandemic.
Seneca is now hosting this event for those who graduated in the 2019-2021 period.
My fellow graduates and I received an invitation via email about a ceremonial celebration that is being held on June 27–28 by Seneca College at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC).
Health and Safety protocols at the MTCC vary depending on certain events.
For example, I was at Comic Con at the MTCC in March and that event did not require any proof of vaccination. Now there is a graduation ceremony for Seneca Alumni and only the vaccinated can take part in the joyous event.
I spoke with three Seneca graduates who wished to remain anonymous about this ceremonial function and this is what they had to say:
"I think it's completely unfair. If someone chooses to get vaccinated or not is completely their choice. Especially given we’re in a time period now where mandates and even mention of the virus is almost unheard of, only when it's convenient."
Another graduate said they were surprised that this is still happening because mandates have been dropped by other places.
"I'm vaccinated but not going to grad as I'm just too far out of the school mindset, but I do think it's unfair that not everyone has the choice to celebrate a big moment in their life because of their vaccination status."
Someone who is unvaccinated said that since students have paid for a full program — and are still paying off debts incurred from school — they said not celebrating as a group because of a personal choice is absurd.
"I don’t feel that missed out by not going. At the end of the day, it's been over a year since we graduated technically, but If I were vaccinated and I knew that my peers who I've worked hard with for the past two years straight could not come, I'd be upset, and I wouldn’t go... there would be no point."
One of Seneca’s campuses shares the same location as York University in Toronto, a school that suspended its vaccine policy effective May 1, 2022. This decision was based on the guidelines from the Government of Ontario and when Toronto Public Health began lifting COVID restrictions.
Seneca Graduates attending this exclusive celebration must register by Friday, June 3.
Speaking for myself, I would not attend this graduation because of this unscientific mandate that discriminates against my fellow graduates. They have worked hard and regardless of vaccine status, everyone deserves to be there. I would not support going to a “graduation ceremony” when anyone feels left out — that isn't right.
Why would Seneca College discriminate against any student? Especially when those same students chose their institution to study at in the first place.