Are Williams students more self-centered than I expected?

Example 1: “As a student, I can tell you that I have not yet met a peer who is interested in a virtual commencement.”

Example 2: “We don’t want it. It’s not even an issue about having two–we could have two if we really wanted to! We just don’t.”

Example 3: “[S]top pushing for a virtual commencement which we clearly don’t want.”

My message to these seniors: Commencement is not (just) about you! What about your parents? Don’t you think that they might be interested in Commencement? What about your grandparents and extended families? Commencement is a celebration, not just of you and what you have achieved, but of your loved ones who have helped make it possible.

Williams College has not asked parents or families whether or not they are interested in a virtual Commencement on June 7th.

So, perhaps the College is re-enforcing the selfishness of Williams seniors?

Again, I am making an empirical claim. Send the parents an e-mail like this:

To the parents of the class of 2020:

As discussed, Williams is committed to celebrating your child’s achievements in person, as soon as we are allowed, by Massachusetts state officials, to do so. In the meantime, we are exploring options for June 7th. There are two possibilities:

1) No virtual Commencement.

2) A virtual Commencement involving speeches, performances and other celebrations. This would be viewable by all via the College’s Youtube channel. It might also include aspects of a “Zoom Commencement” which would involve grouping students and, separately, families into Zoom breakout rooms for intimate conversations and visits from favorite faculty and staff, but the technology for that is untested.

My prediction: A (vast?) majority of parents would vote for 2). After all, the College has explicitly warned them that they might not even be invited to the in-person event in 2021!

Do you disagree that (at least!) a majority parents would vote for a virtual Commencement?

If a majority of parents voted for a virtual commencement, would you object to one being held? You (obviously!) would not be required to attend.

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