Admissions officials encouraging students to join national ¨Walk Out¨ on March 14 2018

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Admissions officials at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said Thursday that if college applicants are disciplined for leaving class and joining in on the growing number of national high school protests against gun violence, it won’t negatively affect their chances of getting into the renowned Cambridge school.

As students are frustrated with a lack of gun control measures after the deadly Parkland, Florida school shooting last week, which killed 17 people, some high schools across the country have threatened to suspend anyone who participates in the walkouts.

Student demonstrations called “March For Our Lives” are scheduled to take place across the country on March 24 in many different locations across the country.

According to the fine print on a school such as MIT’s admissions letters, the school has “the right to revoke or defer your offer of admission” if an applicant’s conduct results in any disciplinary action such as a suspension.

But Stu Schmill, MIT dean of admissions and student financial services, wanted to put the worries of MIT hopefuls to rest, saying, in effect: ¨Go ahead, join in.¨

¨Some students who have been admitted to MIT Class of 2022 have asked us if their acceptance will be rescinded if they are disciplined for joining the protests, while other applicants still under consideration are wondering if they have to choose between speaking out and getting in,” Schmill wrote in a blog. “We have already informed those who asked that, in this case, a disciplinary action associated with meaningful, peaceful participation in a protest will not negatively impact their admissions decision.”

Schmill said that if a student is suspended or disciplined for being part of the protests, they are still required to report it to MIT officials.

However, he said, because the school does not “view such conduct on its face as inappropriate . . . or anything we wouldn’t applaud amongst our own students,” their futures won’t be hindered by becoming part of the national movement.

There are many colleges letting students know that their urge to express their concerns about gun violence and exercise their First Amendment rights won’t put a black mark on their college dreams.

Deb Shaver, Smith College’s Dean of Admissions, also spoke out on the issue.

“To students worried about disciplinary action for getting suspended for standing up for your beliefs: we’ve got you on this side,¨ she wrote.

Kelly A. Walter, associate vice president for enrollment, and dean of admissions, said. ¨Students: If you participate in peaceful protests against gun violence and receive school discipline for walking out, staging your protest, etc., please rest assured that you can report it to UMass Amherst, and we won’t hold it against you.¨

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Admissions officials encouraging students to join national ¨Walk Out¨ on March 14 2018