Breaking: Covino announces steps toward an in-person commencement for Class of 2021


President Covino attended the recent Associated Students Incorporated, Board of Directors meeting.

Marisa Martinez

Updated March 25: Aaron Castañeda’s graduation has been corrected.

President William A. Covino announced that the Cal State LA administration will be looking for an outdoor venue in order to have an in-person commencement for the class of 2021.

The President attended the recent Associated Students, Incorporated (ASI) Board of Directors Meeting (BOD) for the first several minutes and announced the university’s plan for commencement and then logged off for the remainder of the meeting. This announcement was made after weeks of students criticizing the administration over the lack of transparency on the topic and planning of commencement.

Covino cited the recent announcement from Governor Gavin Newsom that stated individuals over 16 will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 15 as well as the county’s progress in distributing vaccines as reasons behind his decision.

If a location is not found in time, the “back-up plan,” according to ASI president Diana Chavez, is to have a virtual commencement.

Former ASI president Aaron Castañeda, who graduated Fall 2019, hopes that the university considers adding the class of 2020 into the planning of the graduation celebrations. 

During his term, Castañeda said Cal State LA was “like home” to him. He currently will not receive the chance to walk across the stage as there is no plan in place for his graduating class.

“[The] class of 2020 also worked hard to finish school,” Castañeda said. “I hope and beg we get a commencement ceremony, too, even if I have to be a part of the Class of 2021 ceremony.”

Many students who attended the BOD meeting agreed with Castañeda. Between July 2019 and June 2020, 5,982 students obtained bachelor’s degrees and 1,284 obtained master’s degrees according to Cal State LA’s Institutional Effectiveness website. 

For some current graduating students this news comes as a sigh of relief. Healthcare management masters student, Alicia Ybarra started a petition earlier this month that called for an in-person commencement that garnered 500 signatures. 

“I’m really glad that he overturned his decision. It makes me really happy that he was willing to hear our stories behind what graduation means to us.” said Ybarra, “I will see you all in May.” 

The soon-to-be mother of two was originally worried that her son would not be able to watch her graduate. Today she’s considering this a win.