timothyjohn, a valued member of the EphBlog community, writes:

I just think that pretty much everyone except David realizes that virtual commencements are, in the end, a complete waste of everyone’s time.

Is there a reason that “pretty much everyone” does not include Bowdoin, Wesleyan, Middlebury, Bates, Connecticut College, Tufts, Swarthmore, Hamilton, Trinity, Amherst and so on?

Middlebury College — which, of course, is completely different from Williams and filled with seniors with totally different preferences — is having a virtual commencement on May 24th.

Considering federal and state public health recommendations, Middlebury will not host an in-person Commencement on May 24, 2020. We will instead recognize the class of 2020 in May with a virtual celebration, as well as a traditional in-person ceremony to be held at a later date.

How weird is that? Williams officials have assured us that, among seniors, there is “almost no support for a virtual Commencement.” Middlebury seniors must be completely different!

Bates College, run by noted EphBlog fangirl and all-around firebrand Clayton Spencer ’77, is also holding a virtual commencement on May 31, to be followed by an in-person event in the next year or so. (The Bates plan includes lots of thoughtful details, although it is not as good as this proposal.) Are Williams seniors (and their families) so different from Bates seniors (and their families) as to make a Williams virtual commencement uniformly despised?

Of course not. Williams has made a mistake. That is OK! I make mistakes all the time. It is uninteresting (to me) why we made that mistake and/or who is responsible. The important thing is that we fix the mistake, that we not be trapped into defending the indefensible. Is Maud wise enough to see that? I hope so!

How could it possibly make sense for Williams not to ask parents whether or not they want a virtual commencement and then, without asking them, to not hold such an event even though every peer school is doing so?

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