On Monday the University of Wisconsin sought to reassure current high school seniors interested in attending UW that participating in next month’s national walk out to protest gun violence will not impact their chances of being admitted.
After the Parkland shooting, students from around the country organized walkouts at their respective high schools. Students will walk out of class at 10 a.m. March 14 for 17 minutes, one minute for every life lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, according to the ENOUGH: National School Walkout website.
More than 20 Wisconsin high schools, including Madison West High School, are participating, according to the website. The walkout is supported by Youth EMPOWER, a branch of the National Women’s March.
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Not all Wisconsin school districts approve of the idea, but it is possible students could avoid consequences by getting parental excuse from classes on the day of the walkout, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
This policy is not a new one, but UW wanted to make students aware they are allowed to participate in lawful protests, UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone said.
“This is not a decision that was made in response to the current protests on gun control,” McGlone said.
A post on UW’s Twitter page explained to concerned individuals that the university respects the rights of students to protest, as long as it is legal.
— UW-Madison (@UWMadison) February 26, 2018
UW is not the only university to reach out to prospective students and reassure them of their rights to lawfully protest, as Cornell University has also acknowledged protest participation concerns via Twitter.
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But this policy is not specific to this particular walkout, McGlone said.
“This is a pre-existing admissions policy that applies to participation in lawful protest, regardless of the topic,” McGlone said.