University supports prospective students' protest

Monday, February 26, 2018 - 9:17pm

In the wake of a school shooting in Florida that left 17 students dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, the University of Michigan released a statement Monday reaffirming their commitment to free speech for all students, including those who have applied to or recently been accepted to the class of 2022.

Since the shooting a week and a half ago, protest movements sparked by the students from Stoneman Douglas have popped up across the country. While some high schools have encouraged participation in these movements, others have been less receptive, threatening disciplinary action for students who leave school or disrupt the school day to protest.

This has led high school students to question whether suspensions or punishments from their high school for participation in a protest. The University joined several other colleges around the nation— including Northwestern University and Cornell University—releasing a statement stating while prospective students are still obligated to report changes to their disciplinary or criminal history, the University is committed to protecting free speech and will approach this scenario from that lense.

“In accordance with our policy, students should disclose any criminal conduct or disciplinary action taken by their high school,” the statement reads. “However, the context and rationale for these actions is always taken into consideration. The University of Michigan is a public university in a democratic society with a commitment to free speech. We value the right of students to exercise their voices and engage in lawful protest on issues that are important to them.”

The statement also references the University’s ongoing conversation regarding free speech, a topic that has been inspired by white supremacist Richard Spencer’s request to speak on campus.

“Our university community is currently engaging in deep exploration of issues related to free speech as a cornerstone of American democracy,” it reads.