Students of the University of Belize are expressing concerns over the changes in graduation dates. Alberto Matus who has completed his Bachelors in Information Technology in December 2017, said he will not be receiving his diploma until June 16. He was expecting to receive his diploma during the February graduation ceremony, but he will not because there is no February graduation ceremony. The University of Belize has decided to carry out one commencement exercise in June. Matus wrote a letter to the President of UB, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, in which he says quote, “Back in January 2017 many of us happily complied with the University’s process of applying for program completion evaluation for December, and graduation in February 2018. Some of us, more excited than others, made plans for the future including scholarship applications, and the foreseen salary adjustments that our attained degree would help with. Unfortunately, I like many others, found out too late about certain changes that were being made at the University.” End of quote. Matus spoke to Love News.
ALBERTO MATUS, STUDENT
“I knew it was going to affect me in applying for any further studies in any program. I still believe that it wouldn’t affect me at my current place of employment, however, this Monday this past Monday I got my letter of completion at the office here and I realized when they told me that it was worthless because a letter of completion certain institutional bodies, we think the Ministry itself does not accept a simple letter of completion they actually want your complete copy of your degree in order for you to get any raise or any salary adjustments. So then I was shocked, it’s like I’m finished my studies but I’m still not finished. You know?”
HIPOLITO NOVELO, LOVE NEWS REPORTER
“Do you know whether or not this was an abrupt change or was there any consultation with the student government at the university or with the students themselves?
ALBERTO MATUS, STUDENT
“Well I have approached the student government body and they said that it was a decision that was made by the president himself and I was currently reading his response because he actually formally responded to me he says that this change the dates and venues who were proposed, discussed reviewed and approved by the board of trustees of UB after consultation with the elected student representatives of all campuses. I did approach these persons in these bodies the student government bodies and they simply said they could not change anything because it was a decision made in the top. Period.”
Matus hopes that the matter is resolved with him receiving his diploma in February as expected.
ALBERTO MATUS, STUDENT
“I’m simply urging and humbly requesting that there be a process through which we can attain our degrees in February as we had expected. This decision should not have affected those of us who were already given a date to expect our degrees. It doesn’t matter if there is a process and they charge you a fee. If it comes to the point that they are doing this to save money I’m pretty sure that students are willing to pay a fee to get their degrees in February as we had expected you know? It would be both win-win situations, the university gets money and we get our degrees as we had expected. We can’t wait until June, time is money and this is what was losing. Time is money again if I’m simply going to go to the campus to get the same response that all I can get is a letter of completion then there’s no solution to it as yet and that is what we need; as students we need concrete solution to this and the solution is getting our degrees in February as we had expected.”
In response to Matus’ email, Professor Sankat said quote, “the matter of graduation dates and venues have been proposed, discussed, reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees of the UB after consultation with the elected student representatives of the UB from all our Campuses.” End of quote. Professor Sankat explains that the University is moving back to a single graduation ceremony in June. Sankat says this is because of the University’s quote, “precarious state of our finances, the urgent need to reduce costs and build efficiency within this University.” End of quote. From the letter, we understand that the University plans to go ahead with its one graduation per year in June. Professor Sankat goes on to say quote, “So the June Ceremony this year promises to be very special and I look forward to seeing you there.” End of quote. The University says it will formalize an official statement for the press as soon as it is completed