OSWEGO, N.Y — The shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has inspired high school students from around the country to use their voices and stand up for new gun control legislation.
Students in Florida, Texas and New Jersey, among other states, have been staging walkouts from their schools to peacefully protest and push elected officials to adopt stricter gun laws.
In the wake of these recent events, SUNY Oswego released a Facebook statement to ensure prospective, accepted and future students that their participation in peaceful protests would not impact their admissions status to the school.
SUNY Oswego’s Chief Communication Officer, Wayne Westervelt says the national discussion of whether students should be able to freely express their opinions in the form of peaceful protests and stage walkouts is what inspired the message. While the most recent protests have come from high school students following the mass shooting at a Florida High School, Westervelt says this message is applied to all peaceful protests a student may decide to engage in.
“Here at SUNY Oswego, we wanted to alleviate any concern, doubt or worry from our prospective students as to whether or not that [engaging in peaceful protests] would have an impact [on their admissions status],” Westervelt said.
Not only was the message intended to assure prospective and future students that their voices matter, but Westervelt says it was also a chance for those students to see the culture that exists on SUNY Oswego’s campus.
“This gave us an opportunity to emphasize to future students and give them a glimpse of what we support on our college campus…civil discourse, active and inclusive engagement and an open exchange of beliefs and ideas; that’s part of the education and culture here at SUNY Oswego,” Westervelt said.
While the message was directed toward prospective and future students, Westervelt says the same message applies to the students who already attend SUNY Oswego. He says the ability of students to engage in peaceful debate, productive dialogue and the sharing of beliefs, has always and will continue to be promoted on campus every day.