CSU will not penalize prospective students for activism in response to Parkland, Florida shooting

Emma Iannacone

Colorado State University announced that admissions decisions for prospective students will not be affected for those engaging in activism in the wake of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting.

Dont shoot I want to grow up, protect children not guns
Students from the Poudre School District make their way into Old Town Square Plaza on Feb. 27, 2018, during the Walk Out protest. The protest was held by students, parents, and community members to pay respects to the children killed in the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, 2018, and to request better gun safety laws and regulations. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

In a tweet sent out Feb. 24, the Office of Admissions wrote that prospective students “can rest assured that disciplinary action as a result of lawful, peaceful student activism will not impact (their) admission decision.”


CSU is one of seven Colorado colleges and universities, alongside University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado School of Mines and University of Denver, to announce that if an applicant’s participation in peaceful protests resulted in disciplinary action, it would not be taken into account during admission reviews.

“CSU – like many institutions – chose to share the university’s position on Twitter where much of the conversation around these issues is happening,” wrote Mike Hooker, CSU’s director of public affairs and communications, in an email to the Collegian.

The tweet from CSU’s Office of Admissions was prompted by a request from the National Association for College Admission Counseling to clarify how member institutions would respond to disciplinary action for high school students engaging in political protest and how it may factor into the admission process. 

The NACAC created a list of colleges and universities that have provided statements about how disciplinary actions related to activism will be considered during the application review process for school counselors and concerned students.

“This message is looking forward, to let prospective students know that CSU considers free speech, peaceful protest and civic engagement at the core of a democratic and deliberative society,” Hooker wrote.

In light of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting which left 17 dead, high school students have engaged in protests across the nation to call for gun reform, including a walkout in Fort Collins Tuesday afternoon. 

“Activism signals that students are ready to take control of the world around them, that they are finding their voice, building confidence, and are on the path to be engaged citizens,” said David Burge, the president of the NACAC in an update to the website.

Some school districts have threatened to suspend students who take part in anti-gun violence demonstrations, but Poudre School District has encouraged students to exercise their right to assemble.

“Freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest are among our nation’s most cherished traditions, and through civic engagement our youth develop the abilities needed for citizenship in our democracy…We applaud students for finding their voice and acting on their convictions,” said Poudre High School Principal Kathy Mackay in an email to parents according to the Coloradoan.

CSU admissions also stated their support for students who choose to have an active voice in their community. 


“Protecting free speech is extremely important at CSU because … an open exchange and vigorous debate of ideas is at the heart of what we stand for at an institution of higher education,” Hooker wrote.

Collegian TV Executive Producer Emma Iannacone can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @EmmaIannacone.