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Bradley releases statement for prospective students

After the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a number of high school students across the country began to organize school walk-outs and lie-in protests. Later, some high school administrators notified parents that their children may be suspended if they participate in any activities like these.

In the world of college admissions, this led to concern over whether students’ admission to universities would be impacted negatively.

A number of universities across the country published statements showing their support of prospective students, and on Feb. 26, Bradley posted its own statement on its various social media accounts. It said:

“Bradley University is a community that strongly supports the responsible exercise of free speech rights and encourages both current and future students to contribute meaningfully to understanding and resolving the issues confronting our society. We would like to assure students that their admissions offers will not be negatively affected by school disciplinary actions resulting from participation in peaceful, non-disruptive protests or lawful expressions of their beliefs. Bradley supports a student’s right to engage in peaceful, non-disruptive protests regardless of their position on a subject.”

The Office of Public Relations sent The Scout an email yesterday; it said this statement was released because the issue was raising the concerns of many admitted and prospective students.

“We became aware of a significant debate in the press and on social media, so we felt it was appropriate to respond accordingly to ensure our stance on the issue is clear,” the email said.

Before the statement was released, a number of Bradley students were left wondering if the university would join the growing list of other universities across the country who released similar statements, including Illinois State University, Northeastern University and Brown University.

Ryan Lutker, junior elementary education major, wrote an open letter Feb. 25 to University President Gary Roberts requesting Bradley release a similar statement.

“We as a Bradley community must show them we’re listening – and that every voice matters here,” Lutker’s letter said.

After the statement was released, Lutker said he was content with the message conveyed by the university. However, he wondered why it took Bradley longer to release the statement than it did other universities.

“I am so frustrated with Bradley’s slowness to respond to any issues that affect current or prospective Bradley students,” Lutker said.

Sophie Honeyman, senior journalism major, said she was proud of Bradley for releasing the statement.

“It seems common sense, but even the act of putting it out there is a bold move in today’s political climate,” she said. “Regardless, it shows incoming students that their voices will still be represented and prioritized.”

Honeyman noticed the walk-outs taking place across the country, which were originally organized by the Women’s March. She decided to create a Facebook event for a Bradley walk-out, which will take place March 8 at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes in remembrance of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last month.

“When I realized we were technically on Spring Break during the [national walk-out on March 14], I wanted to make sure Bradley students could still participate and declare their stance in support for gun control reform,” Honeyman said. “So now we may not be protesting with the entire country, but we’re walking out of our classes on our time and making our opinions known.”

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The Scout is published by members of the student body of Bradley University. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the University.