Two days after half of its freshmen and sophomores moved in, Claremont McKenna College (CMC) announced that its Convocation Ceremony will move from an in-person event near Kravis Center to an online event. Earlier in the day, students also learned that the College Programming Board (CPB) is canceling its annual barn party after the Dean of Students approached them. These two announcements reached students three days before the rest of the student body plans to move to campus, five days before classes start, and five days after tuition payments were due.
The Wednesday afternoon email from CMC’s Office of Events announced that “Convocation will be a virtual gathering. We [at the College] very much look forward to celebrating together later this fall, once we have all settled into campus.” The update did not state whether or not the COVID-19 uptick in Los Angeles County was the deciding factor in moving the event online.
An Office of Events email the prior week invited students to “attend the first academic event of CMC’s 75th anniversary year and join in the celebration as our community returns to campus life.” Convocation was to take place in-person at the Gann Quadrangle in front of Kravis Center. According to the original invitation, there was to be a Welcome Back Celebration after the Convocation Ceremony offering live music and 15 food trucks. In response to clarifying questions of the Independent, the Office of Events confirmed that the “Welcome Back Celebration is canceled” and that “[Collins] dining hall will be open for dinner service” instead.
This Wednesday, the College Programming Board also informed students of its decision to cancel its annual Barn Party, an outdoor farm-themed gathering. The email notes that CPB decided to cancel the party “[a]fter being approached by the Dean of Students and hearing their concerns.” CPB determined that it “is best for the health and safety of our student body to cancel this event for now.”
A prior email from the Dean of Students updated CMC’s sophomores on the possibility of Barn Party’s cancelation. “Barn Party is scheduled to occur at the end of Orientation, this year, on Sunday evening, August 29th. Currently, we hope to move forward with this event, but will evaluate conditions as the date nears. No food or beverages will be provided or allowed at the event, so attendees can remain masked. This combination of SWOA trips and one outdoor social event with several COVID tests before and after will also allow us to assess how best to manage the size and format of our social events.”
The Barn Party and Convocation announcements come after recent news of faculty and students at CMC testing positive for COVID-19. Immediately after these cases, CMC tightened dining hall regulations. Before CMC released this news, the school moved Orientation Adventure training online for three days after at least one member tested positive for COVID-19.
CMC created general policies before these outbreaks and cancellations, and students have since seen policies tighten and certain events move to a virtual landscape.
The article has been updated to include a response from Claremont McKenna College’s Office of Events regarding the cancelation of the planned Welcome Back Celebration, in addition to the canceled Convocation Ceremony.