Posthumous Degree Policy Causes Social Media Backlash

wtbu · Posthumous Degree Policy Causes Social Media Backlash

By Grace Ferguson


On Wednesday, Boston University’s student newspaper, the Daily Free Press, tweeted about a new policy that would grant degrees or certificates to BU students who die before graduation.

Under the policy, a student can be awarded a posthumous degree if they were very close to completing their graduation requirements when they died. They would also have to have been in good academic standing. Students who weren’t close to graduation when they died are still eligible for a Certificate of Academic Achievement.

The Daily Free Press’s tweet on Wednesday caused a social media storm because of the policy’s timing. BU is getting ready to reopen its campus in the midst of a deadly pandemic. Many Twitter users interpreted the policy as preparation for a wave of student deaths in the fall.

But the policy isn’t as new as some might think. The university officially enacted it in June, but it was formally considered in January, and the policy has been in the works for years, according to BU Spokesman Colin Riley.

The spokesman said it’s unfortunate that the policy has been misconstrued, and the university apologizes the confusion.