After the tragic mass shooting at a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, Boston College Admissions tweeted a link on Saturday morning to a letter written by Director of Undergraduate Admissions John Mahoney. Addressing high school students across the country who have organized walkouts to advocate for stricter federal gun laws, BC followed the actions of other universities, including Boston University, MIT, UMass Amherst, and Dartmouth College, who announced last week that disciplinary actions against students involved in peaceful protests would not have an impact on their admissions decisions. “Applicants to Boston College who respectfully speak and act in support of these principles will not be penalized in the admission process,” Mahoney writes in the letter, signifying that BC is willing to prioritize prospective students’ political actions by protecting their First Amendment right to protest.
Some high schools have announced that they will not allow students to participate in demonstrations while classes are occurring and that they would face repercussions, such as three-day suspensions. When students consider whether to participate in protests calling for stronger gun regulations, some have to determine whether they wanted to risk college acceptances as well.
High school students who decide to participate would face a disadvantages with potential notes on their school disciplinary records. With support from numerous colleges across the country, students and supporters of the movement have also organized walkouts and a march in Washington, D.C. in the coming months to continue pressuring government officials to enact change. When the University assures high school students that they will not be punished as they advocate for safer educational environments, it encourages students to exercise their first amendment rights. Even an act as simple as an affirmation of students’ acceptance is a positive mark that shows BC’s dedication to recruiting socially conscious students and people for others.