STUDENTS have taken to shaking each other's hands on the stage at graduation in protest against the University of Southampton not reading out their names during ceremonies.

The university is hosting a three-day super graduation celebration at St Mary's Stadium this week.

But graduates from 2020, 2021, and 2022 say have been left feeling as though they were "crammed" into the ceremonies.

Some 11,000 people are graduating across ten ceremonies over the three days.

READ MORE: Students hard hit by the pandemic are set to graduate this week

Students have been left disheartened after their names were not read out, with them appearing on a screen instead.

There was also no-one on stage to greet them or shake their hands.

The graduations started on Wednesday and the events are being live streamed.

A spokesperson for the university said it had received many positive comments, but apologised for any disappointment caused.

Graduates can be seen walking on stage and shaking each other's hands as they pass, in a bid to protest the university's decision.

The university has apologised for causing "any disappointment".

Amy Scott-Munden, 22, who studied English and History, is due to graduate on Friday.

She said she feels as though her achievement has been "taken away from her".

"We heard rumours they wouldn't read out our names, but it was just rumours," she said.

"People are really annoyed, they have crammed three years' worth into three days.

"People aren't getting names read out, and they're not getting a scroll.

"It feels like we have an unfair experience. It feels really disrespectful.

"I've heard from the majority that everyone is just really sad.

"It feels like our achievement is being taken away from us. I feel really disappointed."

Amy claims students were banned from commenting on the live stream of the graduation on Wednesday, which made them feel "shut out".

Theresa Radford, whose daughter Chanel is due to graduate, said she is "absolutely livid" with the university's decision.

Daily Echo: Chanel Radford who is graduating in law.Chanel Radford who is graduating in law.

She said: "After three years of hard work during Covid, amid staff strikes and the students having to do much of the work alone at home, I’m absolutely livid.

"These young people have worked so hard to get where they are, they at least deserve their name announced on stage.

"My daughter will be graduating in law and we are so very proud of her that we want her and all the others to get the recognition they deserve on their long-awaited very special day."

Another parent, Mandy Millard, is travelling from Staffordshire for her daughter's graduation.

She said: "I have been trying all day to get someone from the university to listen. We are all absolutely horrified.

"They've graduated through one of their most difficult periods, and then you're walking on stage anonymously. The students themselves are pretending to shake hands, it's just a shambles.

"All the university need is one person with a microphone and a list of names."

English student Chloe Wade, who is due to graduate on Friday, added: "Watching the live stream filled me with disappointment.

"It was embarrassing to watch everyone quietly walk out of the tunnels in single file, like kids during a fire drill, and proceed to have their names flash across the screen.

"It looks as if a lot more effort could have gone into it and I'm no longer as excited for my graduation as I was this morning before I saw the live stream."

A spokesperson from the University of Southampton said graduation is "one of the most important dates for us in the university calendar", adding that the team works "extremely hard" to make it an exciting day. 

They added: “Regretfully, in 2020 and 2021, we couldn’t hold our graduation ceremonies in person, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but this year we were determined to make sure all those who missed out on an in-person ceremony would have the opportunity to experience this, alongside those graduating this year.

"As a result, the Summer 2022 Graduation is our biggest ever, with over 11,000 graduands attending across three days at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton.

“Unfortunately, due to the logistics of organising the high numbers involved and for the comfort of those watching, we have made some changes and are not able to read out the names and shake hands with every graduand as they pass across the stage.

"We apologise if this has caused disappointment for some, however, we have made sure all names are scrolled across the large screens in the stadium to recognise everyone’s considerable achievements and each student also has a photo opportunity.

“Indeed, the opportunity to process in friendship groups, rather than a predetermined order, has been a source of enjoyment for many and we have received lots of positive comments about the events.

"To ensure all our guests have a special time, we have also provided the opportunity for Faculty celebrations in different parts of the stadium, immediately after the event.”