USC has decided to cancel its next round of graduation ceremonies following the introduction this week of new national rules regarding large gatherings.
Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Elliot said the average number of people attending each of the 13 ceremonies planned for April 6-9 would have been around 500.
“We have made this decision in line with expert advice that all non-essential, organised gatherings of 500 people or more must be cancelled to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19,” he said.
“We believe that social distancing requirements will accelerate in the coming weeks and decided to cancel the graduations now, rather than leave people hanging on a decision to be made closer to the planned dates.
“We are saddened to have to make this announcement and recognise that it will be a great disappointment to our graduands.
“However, the health and well-being of our community – particularly our most vulnerable – must come first.”
Professor Elliot said all graduation fees would be automatically refunded in full over the next month.
“I’d also like to assure graduands that they will be considered to have graduated in absentia, and they will receive all their official documentation online and in the mail after 13 April,” he said.
“We hope to be able to provide them with an opportunity to cross the stage at a future graduation ceremony.”