Students protest at “joke” Hatfield graduation

The University of Hertfordshire has traditionallly held graduation ceremonies at St Albans Cathedra

The University of Hertfordshire has traditionallly held graduation ceremonies at St Albans Cathedral - Credit: Pete Stevens

Students at Hatfield’s University of Hertfordshire are campaigning to keep their graduation ceremonies in their magnificent traditional setting.

The university usually presents degrees in St Albans Cathedral in ceremonies in November and March, but

some students will graduate this year in the rather less impressive Weston Auditoreum in Hatfield’s de Havilland campus.

One final year student nurse told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Not even an explanation as to why or an apology. I want to graduate proudly in a beautiful cathedral, not a classroom where I have my lectures.”

A university spokeswoman responded: “The university’s awards ceremonies will now take place in September and December instead of November and March.

“The September ceremonies will be at the Abbey in St Albans and the Weston Auditorium will be used in December.

“It is not possible to use the Abbey in December due to Christmas celebrations and graduate numbers are not sufficient to make this a feasible venue.

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“Apart from the obvious factor of a warmer month of September it was also recognised that holding the ceremonies shortly after the majority of students’ examination boards may improve the employability prospects of graduates.

“This view was endorsed by the student union who canvassed student opinion and 85 per cent of course representatives reported that their students preferred moving the ceremonies forward.

“The move to September also secured a longer hire period at the Abbey to accommodate our growing graduate numbers which was not possible in the month of November.”

Comments recorded on an online petition include “What a joke”, and “higher fees yet lesser grandeur”.