As students partake in nationwide protests against police and racial violence, they might not consider the effect their participation has on future employment.
Brian Guerrero, senior director of the Center for Career and Professional Success in the college, said that employers and graduate or professional schools review applications holistically, looking at the context of situations such as protests.
“If an arrest during a peaceful protest occurs and becomes part of someone’s record, there will be ample space in a job/graduate school application or during the interview process to address it,” Guerrero said in an email.
Still, students should consider a number of factors when participating in a protest, including whether they engaged in any unlawful activities, Guerrero said. He said it’s also important to understand if they are categorized as an at-will employee.
An Employment-At-Will doctrine states that without a written contract or defined duration of employment, employers can terminate employees for any cause, such as being arrested while peacefully protesting, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Ohio is an employment-at-will state.
Liz Baur, a third-year in data analytics, attended a march June 7 in Cincinnati following the killing of George Floyd by a former Minneapolis police officer. Baur said she was hesitant to post anything about protesting on social media because her summer internship had not released a statement on the Black Lives Matter movement and recent protests against police violence, and the company Instagram follows her online.
“If I had wanted to post a picture on my feed — not just my Instagram story — I would have thought about how it would affect future jobs and potentially prevented me from posting,” Baur said.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers, Association of American Medical Colleges, American Bar Association, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology and other professional organizations have released statements in support of students’ efforts to create change through protests and other actions.
In a June 1 press release, the Association of American Medical Colleges said they plan to speak out against racism, discrimination, bias and violence.
“Racism is antithetical to the oaths and moral responsibilities we accepted as health professionals who have dedicated our lives to advancing the health of all,” the press release stated.
In a June 4 press release, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business said that they stand in solidarity with the Black community and are committed to creating an inclusive environment where people can create “positive change.”
“Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, and as educators, we know diversity makes us stronger—as individuals, in our communities, and for a better, more compassionate society,” the release stated.
Students and recent alumni with protest-related concerns are encouraged to consult with a career coach at the Arts & Sciences Center for Career and Professional Success. Career coaching is available over Zoom or by phone, Guerrero said.