University of Hawai‘i cancels graduation

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Ailene Salom, a Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce intern who studies business at Kaua‘i Community College, works to ready the office for remote operation Thursday afternoon in Lihu‘e.

HONOLULU — The University of Hawai‘i is canceling the traditional commencement ceremonies, said University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner during a meeting of the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents at the Honolulu Community College via teleconferencing.

Decisions on alternatives to commencement ceremonies will be made by the individual campuses, with some looking at the possibility of rescheduling the events, or even incorporating them with other scheduled events.

“I knew it,” said Ailene Salom, a Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce intern from the Kaua‘i Community College business department. “I heard people talking about it on the news a few days ago. Now, if UH cancels graduation, it’s almost automatic we’re not going to have it at KCC.”

Other topics included Lassner updating the regents on a number of topics, including the decision to move to online delivery of courses across the 10-campus UH system. This will start Monday, March 23, the first day of instruction following spring break, and will continue for the remainder of the semester.

“I only have two courses to finish the semester and get my associate’s degree,” said Salom, a third-year student at KCC. “It’s harder because I’ll have my kids around, but I’ve done it before. I get to be home with the kids.”

Lassner said the University of Hawai‘i is committed to completing the spring semester across its 10 campuses, maintaining key operations and employees who are able, working remotely from home.

“University of Hawai‘i is one of the great universities in this world,” Lassner told the regents. “We will not only survive, we will succeed, and we will come out of this better than we were before.”

The regents’ meeting was at Honolulu Community College and sent statewide via video teleconferencing as an alternative form of participation in accordance with Gov. David Ige’s supplementary proclamation to conduct business consistent with social-distancing practices.

During the meeting, the regents and administrators practiced social distancing and were able to continue to do the work of the board and university.

“Following this crisis, we will be a very different place than we were before it,” Lassner said. “Our graduates will be the cornerstone of this new Hawai‘i.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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