USC will not penalize applicants

Prospective students who participate in peaceful political activities and protests will not be penalized for their actions, Associate Dean and Director of Undergraduate Admissions Kirk Brennan said in a blog post Saturday.

The post comes in response to many high schools stating they would punish students who participated in protests against gun violence following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. earlier this month.

“I wrote the blog post in response to news reports that stated some school districts would automatically suspend students for participating in demonstrations surrounding the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting,” Brennan said in an email to the Daily Trojan.

Rather than punish students, the USC Office of Undergraduate Admission hopes that students feel comfortable expressing their values.

“Furthering knowledge requires students and faculty who are willing to share their views and consider others,” the blog post said. “Therefore, we do not penalize students for speaking up. In fact, we seek them.”

“An admission application isn’t an opportunity for punishment,” Brennan said. “We want to be confident that students we invite to become a part of USC will not be threats to the health and safety of the community. Each of the tens of thousands of students who apply for admission receive a fair, respectful review.”

According to the post, although the admissions office sometimes denies or rescinds students who do not uphold USC’s values and standards, they make an effort to fully understand applicant’s actions.

“We have … welcomed students who have shown they have moved beyond temporary lapses in judgment,” the post said. “The goal is education, not further punishment.”

“Many admission deans and directors around the country felt we needed to assure students such a disciplinary action wouldn’t necessarily disqualify them from going to college,” Brennan wrote in the email. “Many colleges are making similar statements. I had hoped to broadly describe how we handle applications which present information about disciplinary infractions.”