On March 14, high school students around the country walked out of their classes at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes in remembrance of the 17 people who lost their lives in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Despite the movement by thousands of students, some schools like the Sayreville School District stated that those who participated in the walk out and left school grounds without permission would be suspended.
On February 26, Seton Hall tweeted about its policy regarding the applications of prospective students who might have participated in protests during their academic career.
“Peaceful protesting about any issue is not something we consider in the admissions process,” Seton Hall tweeted. “Admission to Seton Hall is based on academic merits, standardized test scores, high school curriculum, essays, involvement in school or Church community, recommendations, etc,” the tweet said.
Numerous high school students throughout the country are expressing their concern about whether their involvement in protests will affect their application or acceptance into colleges. Dr. Tracy Gottlieb, vice president of Student Services, shared more about the origins of this tweet in response to this concern.
Gottlieb said that according to Seton Hall’s policy, the act of students participating in protests is not taken into consideration when determining their admission status. She reassured prospective students that despite the number of peaceful protests they were involved in, there is no reason for students to fear their admission will be rescinded.
Dr. Alyssa McCloud, vice president of Enrollment Management, explained via email the reasoning behind the university’s tweet.
“We sent this tweet because we received a number of questions on social media from prospective students who inquired if we would penalize them for attending the protest planned for later this March in response to the Florida shooting,” McCloud wrote.
Students voiced their opinion regarding their stance on the university’s policy, specifically in response to the upcoming protests.
Mariam Rahman-Vyas, a freshman occupational therapy major, said that she feels Seton Hall is doing the right thing in disregarding protest involvement, as prospective students should be allowed to actively engage in their First Amendment rights.
“For someone to protest, it shows that they have a strong faith in a certain situation or idea and the fact that they are protesting shows that they have the courage to speak up,” Vyas said. “So for them to be judged on their beliefs is wrong and ultimately puts a stop to the whole idea of Freedom of Speech because they have a right to speak up and fight for what they believe in.”
Hannah Sakha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.