An applicant to Ohio State who participates in a protest, such as walkouts planned across the country in support of tougher gun laws, and is punished by their school district for doing so, will not have the suspension held against them when applying to the university.
“Disciplinary action related to lawful protest will not impact a student or applicant’s admissions outcome. The Ohio State University supports everyone’s right to civic engagement,” said university spokesman Ben Johnson in a statement.
Though short, the statement reaffirms a message many higher education institutions across the country are putting out: it is OK to take a stand — specifically against gun violence in schools.
Along with Ohio State, Big Ten institutions including the University of Minnesota, Indiana University, Rutgers University, University of Maryland, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, Penn State University and University of Iowa have released statements saying applicants would not be punished for participating in protests, though other schools in the conference could be supporting protests, without releasing public support.
The schools are voicing support for protests mostly through tweets from admissions pages.
“Pitt Admissions will not penalize students for exhibiting leadership or activism conducted in a respectful manner as part of peaceful protests. #Pitt2022 #ParklandStudentsSpeak,” University of Pittsburgh Office of Admissions and Financial Aid tweeted Saturday.
Protests in high schools have become prominent since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17. Since then, students have held protests on social media, such as hashtags aimed at the National Rifle Association, and scheduled walkouts, like those initiated at central Ohio schools including Upper Arlington and Grove City high schools.
Nationwide protests are planned across the country for March 14, March 24 and April 20, which is the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.
“You have the right to walk out in protest. Your school may punish you but no more than any other absence,” tweeted Sarah Chadwick, a junior from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. “Don’t let your school silence your right to free speech.”