AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — After a few setbacks, USC Aiken will finally celebrate its graduating Pacers. The announcement comes after the USC System called off all in-person ceremonies because of the virus.
The May 6th graduation was initially rescheduled to August 15th. Then, it was called off for good, leading some students to protest on campus.
“We feel that they listened to a few students who are going to continue coming to the university, but not us who have finished here,” said Cecilia Maddox during a news conference.
“We heard our students, and we listened to them,” said Kevin Nolan. “That was one of the biggest things; to have their name called, and announce their accomplishments.”
USC Aiken leaders say they were always going to figure a solution to celebrate the class of 2020. The school finally came up with a decision to host a Pacer Graduation Parade.
“I thought that was a perfect resolution because it allows social distancing, and for us to receive our diploma covers,” said Maddox.
Maddox is one of the protest organizers. She says the inspiration came from local high schools having socially distanced graduations. Maddox believes the school’s chancellor got the message loud and clear.
“I haven’t heard about any protest at any other USC affiliated campus,” explained Maddox. “Maybe it did have an impact; perhaps it was because student leaders stepped up and marched on campus, and people were vocal on the student life page. There has been a lot of upset on that page about a lot of different things. I think the university is starting to feel pressure to listen to its students.”
The associate director of student life for USC Aiken told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, none of this wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the collaboration between the school and a few students.
“We know how vital commencement is to them, and for our campus cheering on those students who worked so hard to graduate,” said Nolan. “We are so happy as a campus that we were able to work together with everyone to give them that acknowledgment. “
The parade will be held on Friday, June 26th, at 6:30 pm. It will start in Parking Lot C and will end in Parking Lot-B.