Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 21, 2024

Graduation officially to take place on Minecraft

By MO JANG | April 1, 2020


APRIL FOOL’S: This article was published as part of The News-Letter’s annual April Fool’s edition, an attempt at adding some humor to a newspaper that is normally very serious about its reporting.

In an email sent to the student body on Monday, University President Ronald J. Daniels announced that commencement for this year’s graduating seniors will be conducted virtually on the multiplayer online game, Minecraft. 

This announcement came as a surprise to many, as talks had already started within the Student Government Association (SGA) as to which platform they should recommend.

Nariz Brown in an interview with The News-Letter expressed frustration at the abruptness of administration decisions with current SGA initiatives. 

“We at SGA had already created, discussed and tabled a five hundred page bill on how we would eventually never reach out to our seniors to try to figure out which platform they wanted the least. At this point, admin’s sudden policy change sets us all back.”

Senior Chad Denim, who had recently compiled a petition against Minecraft in the Facebook group Zoom Memes for Self Quaranteens, spoke instead about the viability of Zoom.

“I’m not a gamer. I don’t game. I don’t understand the need to host my graduation in some stupid game when staged-out Zoom calls would have worked just as fine,” he said. “We can just react with ?on screen instead of being loud as usual.”

Other students, such as Ron Plaid, remained neutral to the idea of using Minecraft. 

“I honestly don’t care. I wasn’t even going to go to graduation.”

Later in his email, Daniels elaborated on how commencement would work virtually. To those who did not have access to the game prior, the university would be assigning free Minecraft accounts according to students’ JHED. In addition to a virtual rendition of the Royal Farms Arena, the entire campus will be built within the server. Each student will be mailed a packet of fireworks to set off within their house to replace the applause. 

Daniels also specified that the new student center would be built virtually, so students would be able to see the “magnificent structure” on a virtual campus before it is officially physically built, way, way after this year’s seniors graduate. 

Senior Thea Terrance was interested to see the University’s plan for the student center.

“By kicking us off campus, Hopkins basically told us to fuck off while they’re out there demolishing the theater I was planning to do my last senior performance in with the rest of my club. They better build a fucking beautiful student center for us to virtually perform in during commencement.”

Plans are already in place to copy the world into a new server and edit parts of the campus. Jesse Block, President of the Minecraft fanclub, detailed his plans to The News-Letter

“So I know a lot of people want to do stuff like, cram Garland with the chickens and egg it, claim student center rooms for their clubs years ahead, or destroy Hodson 110,” Block said. “At least we can act on our pent-up frustrations online. I’ll be live-memeing on the meme page for full effect. Please look forward to it.”

In the email, Daniels attempted to respond to some concerns students would have on this new shift in platform. 

“This new virtual stage and server will be built by the most experienced and established Minecraft professionals. And don’t worry, the ceremony will start for literally hours because we know that quantity over quality is always the way.” 

Students were not pleased, among them senior Rebecca Williams who doubts the quality of the commencement. 

“What the hell is a Minecraft professional? And how can you even contract someone like that?”

In an off-the-record interview, Daniels revealed to The News-Letter that the people who play games by the DMC are going to be forced to create the server, but they will be paid a student wage of $4.20 an hour.

Some students tried to take this news as a positive, already planning to call friends during commencement or use Minecraft as a way to reconnect with friends they may have lost contact with. Senior Tiff Sphere spoke about her plans with this new platform.

“Now that every Senior pretty much has Minecraft for free, I want to make a server with just my friends. It’s hard to keep in contact with everyone, and if anything, this’ll let everyone be social and safe, until someone gets the COMP-20 virus that is,” she said. “I also want to kill someone in-game during commencement. I just think that’d be funny.”

More information about the status of the server and specifics on commencement will be coming out in the following weeks.

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