The teachers who led Durham College graduates to Fall Convocation were not in attendance at the ceremony.
Fall convocation took place Oct. 26 at the Tribute Community Centre – almost two weeks into the five-week long strike.
Since teachers were not supposed to cross the picket line, most chose not to attend their student’s graduation.
Jeffrey Gill graduated from the Public Relations program that night. He wasn’t happy that his teachers weren’t there.
“It’s going to be disappointing because I was really looking forward to seeing some of my teachers here today but I understand why their doing it,” he said. “I’m not going to jump myself in the middle of the debate but, it’ll be disappointing not to see them, that’s for sure.”
Other colleges such as Fanshawe and Mohawk postponed their graduation ceremony to accommodate the strike.
Kevin Baker, principal of the Whitby Campus and the dean of the school of the Skilled Trades, apprenticeship and Technology, and the Centre for Food, said the ceremony wasn’t cancelled because “logistically it would have been impossible to reschedule.”
“That’s a really hard one. You know what, they’re a really big part of our family and a big part of everything that happens,” he said, “but I think that you know, this day is really important for these folks who are graduating, so I think it’s really just one of those unfortunate things where we just have to do it.”
Baker said graduates and families come from “all over the country,” and many planned ahead to come to graduation.
“It’s not something you can easily reschedule, right?” he said. “I mean, this building, it’s big, it’s busy, so trying to get a venue and trying to change things and all that, that’s really difficult, and for everyone who is coming tonight, you know, we see how Important this day is for them and they’ve been looking forward to it.”
President Don Lovisa was also not in attendance due to an emergency.
More than 1,100 graduates from all nine schools graduated in the ceremony.