High school students across the state have been staging or planning walkouts to protest gun violence after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., but some worry that colleges and universities will not admit them if they are suspended for doing so.
Administrators from districts in Texas and Wisconsin suggested last week that students who walk out would be suspended. Those suspensions are reported to colleges and universities in undergraduate applications. But this week, admissions offices tried to reassure students that engaging in peaceful protests will not reflect badly on them.
N.C. State University, for instance, said "peaceful protests by high school students who seek to find solutions to the tragedy of school shootings will not have an impact on their admission decision.
"We value, stand by and encourage students who try to make a positive impact on the world and solve problems," said the statement from N.C. State's Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Other major universities like Duke, Wake Forest and UNC-Chapel Hill issued similar statements. Some did not directly address demonstrations against gun violence, but did say that protesting will not hurt anyone's chances of being accepted.
"When we receive [suspension] reports, we don’t rush to judgment but instead take the whole of the circumstances into account," Steve Farmer, UNC-Chapel Hill's Vice Provost for Enrollment and Undergraduate Admission, said in a statement.
"Although this practice requires that we consider each suspension individually, participation in non-violent civil protest and peaceful expression does not harm a candidate’s chances with UNC-Chapel Hill."
Meanwhile, over the weekend, Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch commended the students' actions, tweeting "we applaud your courage and would be proud to call you Demon Deacons."