As high school students across the nation stage walkouts in light of the Parkland High School shooting, UC San Diego tweeted its support on Tuesday for students exercising their First Amendment rights.
Many universities have released statements in the last few weeks to assure prospective students that their college applications will not be affected by any punishments received for participating in the protests. However, UCSD has not explicitly promised a similar commitment, and instead tweeted, “UC San Diego encourages our current and future students to exercise their constitutionally protected rights to free speech and assembly. Peaceful protest is one of the cornerstones of our democratic process. #StudentsStandUp.”
It is unclear whether this statement assures students of their admissions status, a stand in solidarity with the #StudentsStandUp movement, or general support for the First Amendment.
In contrast, UCLA tweeted a statement on February 23, saying, “UCLA is a community that supports active citizenship and applauds students’ expression of their beliefs. Participation in peaceful, meaningful protest and/or civil action in no way jeopardizes your admission or scholarship to UCLA,” while UC Berkeley tweeted on February 24, “Dear prospective students: We fully support your right to peacefully protest, and would never refuse your admittance for doing so. Signed, the home of free speech.”
While the ambiguity of UCSD’s tweet does not guarantee students that their application won’t be affected by their participation in protests, the university’s support of free speech and assembly comes after its continued silence on recent campus protests, such as the UC Workers’ protest for fair wages on February 1 and the Graduate Students’ protest against the GOP’s new tax bill on November 29.
The UCSD Walkout for Gun Violence Prevention, a student-planned event not sponsored by UCSD, will be held on March 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:17 a.m. at Silent Tree “in honor of the lives lost on February 14th.” On the Facebook event, organizers stated, “We encourage all students, staff, and faculty to join us in saying #NeverAgain as we demand lawmakers create policy that makes MSDHS the last mass shooting of our generation. #Enough.”
Anabel King is a staff writer at The Triton.