In light of recent demonstrations held by high school students advocating for gun reform, Stanford has assured current and future applicants that the University will not consider students’ choice to participate in protests during the application review process.
“Concern has been raised as to the impact if students were to face disciplinary action if their protests takes them away from school, which is often an infraction of attendance policy,” Richard H. Shaw, Dean of Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid, said in a statement posted on Stanford’s admission site Sunday evening. “Given the nature of this national tragedy and the true and heartfelt response of students in expressing their perspectives and expectations, the University will not consider the choice of students to participate in protests as a factor in the review of present or future candidates.”
Shaw’s statement comes as colleges and universities across the country — including MIT, Columbia, Yale and Dartmouth — have assured prospective students interested in participating in peaceful protests for gun reform that disciplinary action resulting from such activism will not negatively affect their admission prospects.
After several universities released statements on Thursday and Friday clarifying that applicants will not be penalized for peaceful activism, the Washington Post reported on Saturday morning that Stanford did not have a statement about such protests.
High school students nationwide have already participated in walkouts and protests in the weeks following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead.
In anticipation of upcoming demonstrations, some high school districts, such as the Needville Independent School District outside of Houston, Texas, have told students that they will face disciplinary action if they engage in protests during school hours.
“One of the important tenets of Democracy is the right of a free people to express their opinion and position on critical national issues,” Shaw’s statement also said. “There has been a phenomenal response from high school students around the nation who wish to exercise this right.”
Several large-scale protests have been organized for the upcoming month, including a national school walkout on March 14 and a march on Washington, D.C., organized by survivors of the Parkland shooting, on March 24.
The admission office is currently reviewing applications for its Regular Decision cycle, and will notify students of their status by April 1.
Shaw’s full statement can be read on Stanford’s admission website.