UPDATE (17/08/2009): Live! has received the following statement from ICSMSU President, Anil Chopra:
"On behalf of ICSMSU I would like to express my anger at the changes made by Comms to the BSc Graduation Ceremony. The ceremony has been moved from the 21st October in the Royal Albert Hall to the 26th October in a marquee on the Queen's Lawn. Not only do students feel that their graduation (and hence their degree) has been de-valued by being moved to the Queen's Lawn but they will also not be able to graduate with their colleagues who have completed their final year. Furthermore, students were notified of the date change too late - a number of students' parents are now unable to watch their sons & daughters graduate as they had previously arranged to take time off work or had booked tickets to fly across continents so that they could be here for the 21st. This is great shame and has caused a great deal of upset amongst graduates."
Imperial College's events office yesterday sent emails to all students in the Faculty of Medicine that have completed their integrated BSc course this year.
The email told students that "this year the Medicine integrated BSc graduation ceremony will take place on Monday 26 October at 15.00 in the marquee on the Queen?s Lawn and will be followed by a champagne and canapé reception".
The email also outlines arrangements for class cancellations, as the ceremony will be held on a Monday afternoon.
Students had previously been under the impression that the ceremony would be held within the Royal Albert Hall, alongside other students celebrating their graduation.
The announcement has led to complaints from many students, whom are both disappointed at the move and angry about the decision to hold the ceremony on a Monday; thus interrupting their continuing studies.
One angry student told Live!, "I don't know any other uni that does graduations in their garden".
Medic student, Victoria Gibbs, said that she couldn't "see what's changed this year that means we had to be moved", continuing, "the most annoying thing is the lack of explanation or apology".
Live! contacted the Events Office at Imperial, who assured us that in future graduation ceremonies will continue to be held at the Royal Albert Hall.
A spokeswoman said, "Imperial's graduation ceremonies will continue to be held in the Royal Albert Hall as always. The only change is that medical students on the MBBS/BSc course will no longer attend both their BSc and their MBBS graduations in the Hall. Instead they will have the opportunity to celebrate their integrated BSc graduation in a special ceremony held in the marquee on the Queen's Lawn. They will be able to graduate in the Royal Albert Hall at the completion of their MBBS".
Former Deputy President (Education & Welfare), Hannah Theodorou, commented on the debate on her facebook page.
She pointed out that the students in question will still get a chance to graduate at the Albert Hall at the end of their studies, saying that she was "slightly entertained by her grumbling year". She referred to sitting through the other students receiving their degrees as "most boring experiences of my life, despite the stunning location".
Imperial College has sent a follow-up email to graduands, explaining the reason for moving the ceremony.
The email says that "due to the popularity of Imperial's graduation ceremonies, we have reached capacity in the Royal Albert Hall and, naturally, we wish to protect the quality of the day for all graduands and guests".
It continues, "we have therefore developed a new BSc ceremony which will be focussed purely on medical students. This will be followed by a reception identical in quality and style to those held after all College graduation ceremonies".
ICSMSU are yet to comment on the announcement.