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College admissions office support protesters

March 18, 2018

Remember when high schools used the threat of putting a negative entry on a student’s “permanent record” to whip a teen into obedience?

A number of colleges and universities are having second thoughts about whether they will consider high school disciplinary actions and suspensions related to student walkouts in support of stronger guns laws in the wake of the Valentine’s Day massacre that claimed the lives of 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

As of late last week, the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State and Temple universities had joined a growing group of selective colleges and universities reassuring high school students they won’t dock them points on their college applications if they participate in peaceful protests for stronger gun laws.

Inside Higher Ed reported that the statements — many put out on Twitter accounts by college admissions officers — came as some high schools threatened to suspend students who participated in protests during school hours.

Such suspensions often serve as a black mark on college applications. But a number of institutions from Yale to UCLA have said they will take a pass on these protests.

In a brief Twitter posts Friday, Pitt and Penn State assured high school students that admissions officers would not consider disciplinary actions stemming from “respectful and peaceful” protests against gun violence on college applications.

Temple University officials joined the fray Monday tweeting that “passionate discourse” is a time-honored tradition at the Philadelphia university.

Officials at Yale went even further.

“Here at @Yale, we are proud to support all students for participating in peaceful walkouts for gun control or other causes, and we will not rescind admissions decisions for students who do so regardless of any school’s disciplinary policy,” the university’s undergraduate admissions office tweeted.

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com or via Twitter @deberdley_trib