Just days ahead, KU School of Medicine announces graduation ceremony will be virtual

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A last-minute change to The University of Kansas School of Medicine’s “hooding” ceremony creates an uproar for graduates.

Just days before graduating, future doctors learn their in-person graduation is going virtual.

The university told FOX4 it had to cancel the in-person ceremony because of a potential risk toward the people attending, but students said if that’s case why not tell them what that risk is.

“If like our safety is at risk, I feel like we deserve to know that,” Alex Arvanitakis, KU School of Medicine Graduate said.

Arvanitakis said she worked hard to get to where she is today.

“A lot of hard work goes into medical school and not only that but getting into medical school,” Arvanitakis said.

She said everyone in her class was looking forward to having the hooding ceremony at Memorial Hall in person on Saturday, until they received an email Tuesday night saying it will be virtual.

The email said in the last 24 hours, unforeseen circumstances were brought to the medical center’s attention and in an effort to protect the health and safety of faculty and staff, the annual ceremony will be virtual.

“The fact that it’s being held from us seemingly intentionally is frustrating,” Jason Taporco, KU School of Medicine Graduate said.

Taporco calls it a lack of transparency,  especially since other campuses are proceeding with their hooding ceremony in person.

Working for You, FOX4 reached out to the university for answers. 

A spokesperson told FOX4 the cancellation is not COVID-19 related.

In a statement it said, “KU Medical Center leadership became aware on Monday of a possible risk to our in-person hooding and recognition events, which only involved graduates and a limited number of faculty. Out of an abundance of caution, those events were moved virtually to ensure the safety of our graduates, faculty and staff. This does not affect the official commencement ceremonies in Lawrence, which will take place on Sunday, May 16.”

“Where exactly is the line of what is safe and what isn’t because we don’t know the nature,” Taporco said.

Even though the graduates will still be able to attend the commencement ceremony, they said the hooding ceremony is the most important part.

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