Young people participate in a gun control rally in Florida on Feb. 17.

Saul Martinez / The New York Times

Young people participate in a gun control rally in Florida on Feb. 17.

February 25, 2018

Disciplinary Action For ‘Responsible,’ Non-Violent Protest Will Not Jeopardize Admission, Cornell Says

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As the #NeverAgain movement sparked by the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. gains momentum, the University shared its support in a tweet on Sunday for those peacefully protesting, promising that participating in the movement will not affect admission decisions.

“Disciplinary action resulting from responsible engagement in non-violent protest will not jeopardize admission to Cornell,” the University wrote in the tweet.

Cornell is among many other universities, including Brown, Dartmouth, Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that have also made statements articulating that acceptances will not be rescinded and applications will not be negatively impacted if a student faces disciplinary action for being involved in a non-violent protest.

Although the statement did not specifically invoke the recent wave of protests surrounding gun control, the tweet said, “Cornell University values civic discourse as essential to the academic mission and promotes public engagement as critical to inspiring future leaders.”

Since the Feb. 14 shooting, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been at the forefront of the newly-revived gun control movement, marked by the hashtag #NeverAgain. High schools nationwide have followed suit, with students staging classroom walkouts and a national rally planned for March 14, according to an article in Reuters.

Some high schools have pressured students not to engage in protests during school hours.

“Should students choose to do so, they will be suspended from school for 3 days and face all the consequences that come along with an out-of-school suspension,” wrote Curtis Rhodes, superintendent of the Needville Independent School District in Texas, in a now deleted Facebook post.

Rhodes’ district is not alone. Other districts have also affirmed that disciplinary action will be taken for those who choose to engage in protest during school hours.

For many high school students, disciplinary action can jeopardize their college admissions. The Common Application, which according to its website serves as the application for more than 750 colleges, includes a section on disciplinary history.

Hannah Mendlowitz, senior assistant director of admissions at Yale, wrote in a blog post Friday that students “should feel free to participate in walk-out events to bring attention to this issue without fear of repercussion.”

Mendlowitz went further, writing that “I, for one, will be cheering these students on from New Haven.”

The University has not yet responded to requests for comment.