A handful of Maryland colleges have joined a chorus of universities in assuring high school students that they won’t be penalized during the admissions process should they protest gun violence.
Johns Hopkins University announced Friday that its “admissions office supports students who take respectful action, and your admission will not be negatively impacted if you are disciplined for expressing yourself in a peaceful way.”
Both the University of Maryland, College Park and Goucher College followed Hopkins’ lead Monday, tweeting out reassuring messages to politically active prospective students.
“At Goucher, we believe in the power of using your voice for good,” the Baltimore-based college tweeted. “We promise that all offers of admission will NOT be affected by any participation in peaceful protests. Your voice matters & we are proud of those who stand up to use their voice for positive change.”
The state flagship echoed that “non-academic disciplinary action from high school will not affect a student’s admission to the University of Maryland if they are engaged in peaceful and respectful protest.”
Students have emerged as passionate advocates of gun control in recent weeks, after a shooting rampage in a Florida high school left 17 people dead. The survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre have planned national marches and class walk-outs, promising to fight for policy changes in memory of their slain classmates and teachers.
Some school districts said that students will face disciplinary action for taking part in these protests. In Texas, for example, a school district warned that any student who participated in a walkout during school hours would be suspended for three days.
A McDaniel College spokeswoman said the school also has “no intent to penalize any student who is involved in a peaceful protest and incurs disciplinary action at his/her high school.” The University of Maryland, Baltimore County also said that “participation in peaceful protests and demonstrations in support of important social issues will not negatively affect admission decisions.”
In a statement, University of Baltimore President Kurt Schmoke said “the right to express one’s ideas and opinions is foundational to both education and civic life. Every UB student, current or prospective, can be assured of the peaceful, responsible exercise of their right to speak freely.”
The University System of Maryland released a statement on Facebook Monday afternoon saying that the system “actively encourages free speech and civic engagement among current and future students.”