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  • Ethan Rogacion

Tri Three Grads Try (And Fail) To Apply For Graduation Ceremony, Sparking Student Uproar


Are you a recent grad of Te Herenga Waka? Did you finish your course of study in February? Do you want to attend the graduation ceremony in May, like other students that finished in this half of the year? Well, “nuh uh!!” says the University!

In a bizarre procedural mishap, the University has made it nearly impossible for students that have finished their studies in Trimester 3 to graduate in May, instead telling students that they will need to wait until December. 

According to a University spokesperson, “[t]here is a significant amount of work that needs to happen to ensure students are eligible to graduate from Te Herenga Waka.” This, they say, involves an internal audit of a student’s grades ensuring that they are eligible for graduation and, after this, students can apply for graduation.

“… [S]ome students who completed their degree when they passed a Trimester 3 course, which concluded in February, did not have enough time for their qualifications to be audited and for the students to apply for our May 2024 graduation ceremonies.” The deadline for applications for the May graduation was 1 March.

This follows on from the University’s advanced graduation policy change last year, which saw students that finished study in Trimester 2 unable to apply for graduation in December. At that time the University alleged that the decision to scrap advanced graduation arose from student feedback, which “indicated that they found [the process] confusing and complicated.”

Marcail Parkinson, VUWSA President, told Salient that “the University has used many many different excuses, ranging from advanced graduation to a policy that doesn’t seem to exist” in order to justify the situation. However, the current issues regarding graduation don’t have anything to do with advanced graduation—Parkinson has labeled the University’s attempts to justify its position as “stupid”.

“The University doesn’t seem to understand the policy themselves. I feel like I understand the policy better than they do—I think they’re making things up.”

A significant amount of students have been affected by the muck-up, with VUWSA advocate Erica Schouten telling Salient that she has been made aware of a number of students who have had flights booked, or made other arrangements around their anticipated May graduation date.

The University told Salient that it “is doing everything it can to accommodate requests from students who have exceptional circumstances and need to attend the next graduation celebration. As part of this process, which closed last week, an additional 87 students have been offered places for our May 2024 graduation.” 

However, Schouten is concerned about students that “didn’t know, and didn’t know who to contact or who didn’t come into VUWSA, or didn’t raise their case through Vic International. And we don’t know how many that is.”

Parkinson said that, “[s]omething tells me that, basically, the University have fucked up, and they’re just struggling to admit that they’ve fucked up. What they really need to do is just say, ‘We’re really sorry we fucked up and we’re gonna do our very best to fix it.’ Instead they’ve said, ‘No, no, no, we talked to you guys about this!’ but they’ve never talked to us.”

VUWSA vehemently rejects the notion that they were consulted by the University on this issue, despite the University allegedly telling affected students that “students were consulted” and that VUWSA alongside other student bodies were involved in “every step of the process.”

The University has told Salient that “It’s clear that the procedure needs to be reviewed and brought in to line with the changing needs of our students.”

“We are working to improve our processes and communication to ensure both staff and students are aware of our deadlines and to make sure staff have the right information to pass on to students.”


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