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Spring commencement ceremonies at all UA campuses are postponed until after June 1.

The UA System Board of Trustees voted Thursday morning to postpone spring commencement ceremonies at all UA system schools until June 2 at the earliest. Administrators at each individual campus will decide on exact dates for the rescheduled events.

While UA Fayetteville administrators have not chosen new dates, they will provide an update later this spring, according to an email sent to graduating students by the Office of the Registrar Thursday. Spring commencement ceremonies were previously scheduled for May 8-9.

UA officials have no plans to reimburse students who paid for a May commencement but cannot attend in June, because graduation application fees pay for more than just the ceremony, said John Thomas, University Relations manager of university communications.

The fee also covers the costs of printing and mailing diplomas and of maintaining graduation records. Those services will proceed as normal, Thomas said.

The board is considering whether to provide partial reimbursement if the ceremonies are cancelled altogether, Thomas said.

UA System President Don Bobbitt, who advised the board to vote for the postponement, said his primary concern was the health of the UA students, faculty, staff, police officers and family members involved in commencement ceremonies. Bobbit also wanted to ensure ample time for families to cancel their May flights and hotel reservations and still receive refunds, he said.

UA officials do not have a projected time for deciding on and announcing new ceremony dates because the status of the COVID-19 pandemic is constantly changing, Thomas said.

“The system and the Board of Trustees are constantly talking about this and discussing it pretty much daily,” Thomas said. “It really just kind of depends on what happens in our area and in our state. We’ll kind of take evaluation of the whole situation as it evolves.”

The board’s decision only impacts the ceremony dates and will not delay the process of certifying graduation and conferring degrees, according to Thursday’s email.

This is an ongoing report. The Arkansas Traveler will update this story as information is made available.

Sarah Komar is a staff reporter for The Arkansas Traveler.

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