Disciplinary action for peaceful protest will not hurt MIT applicants

Stu Schmill 88, dean of admissions, pledged Feb. 22 that MIT will not look unfavorably upon applicants who incur disciplinary action due to “meaningful, peaceful participation in a protest.”

Schmill communicated this statement in a blog post on MIT Admissions.

After seventeen people were killed in a Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, student activists formed Never Again MSD to advocate for policies and reforms that would prevent future tragedies.

As some high schools announced that students who participate in related protests may face disciplinary action, concerned applicants and early action admits expressed concern that their place at MIT would be threatened if they chose to participate, Schmill explained.

“If any admitted students or applicants are disciplined by their high school for practicing responsible citizenship by engaging in peaceful, meaningful protest related to this (or any other) issue, we will still require them to report it to us,” Schmill wrote.

“However, because we do not view such conduct on its face as inappropriate or inconsistent with their prior conduct, or anything we wouldn't applaud amongst our own students, it will not negatively impact their admissions outcome,” Schmill continued.

“An MIT education is about … developing the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind,” Schmill wrote. Therefore, MIT Admissions will uphold MIT’s value of civic responsibility in reading applications with these disciplinary reports, according to Schmill.

At least 165 U.S. colleges and universities have issued statements similar to MIT’s. The list is updated on the #NeverAgainColleges site, as well as on a widely circulated Google Doc list of these colleges compiled by Chris “Petey” Peterson, an MIT admissions counselor.