U-M students, parents rally for in-person graduation

‘Big House, big day, in-person graduation all the way’ chanted protesters

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Students have missed out on some big milestones due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Parents and students gathered in Ann Arbor Saturday to preserve a big milestone at the University of Michigan.

READ: ‘We’re coming no matter what’: Parents, students rally at U-M in Ann Arbor for an in-person graduation

A rally was held to push U-M officials to hold an in-person graduation. They said other universities are doing it and that it can be done safely.

The attendees of the rally chanted “Big House, big day, in-person graduation all the way,” in front of Michigan Union on State Street.

“I know that they’re trying to do what’s what they believe is best,” said Alex Ortega, a father of a U-M student. “You know, taking precautions. But I think precautions can be taken and it can be done safely.”

Ortega traveled from his home in Florida for the rally in support of his son.

“Just to see them walk down and receive their diploma in their cap and gown? It’s a big deal for almost every parent I know,” Ortega said.

RELATED: Some University of Michigan students and parents push for in-person commencement

Other Big Ten universities -- including Michigan State University and Purdue University -- have announced they will do some sort of an in-person graduation, which is why these parents and students believe Michigan can find a way.

University of Michigan Dearborn announced it will have an in-person commencement in May over the course of four days.

U-M senior Delaney Dahlstrom had no idea that a home football game in 2019 would potentially be her last time in the Big House as a Michigan student.

“I do think that having one of the biggest stadiums in the country -- along with the Crisler Center and Yost, they could definitely break it up into multiple pieces,” Dahlstrom said.

Related: U-M locks hundreds of undergrads out of school buildings for not following COVID testing protocols

After missing so much of her senior year, she said she’d love for U-M to give her and her classmates one last thing.

“It would be nice to get one final goodbye,” Dahlstrom said.

As of Saturday afternoon, U-M has said they plan to do some kind of graduation celebration for students when the coronavirus cases are down. However, some parents and students think the university can come up with a plan to do it now while the students are still on campus.

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