University Business April 2018 - 12

Beyond the News
ADMISSIONS

The tragic shootings at Florida's Marjory
Stoneman Douglas High School in
February triggered a massive reaction by
U.S. high school students, capturing the
attention of the public and the media in
ways students never had before. From
rallies and marches to nationwide school
walkouts and sit-ins outside congressional
offices, many young people are pleading
for an end to gun violence.
High school leaders in several states
are clamping down on these activities,
threatening suspension and, in at least one
reported instance, arrest. The underlying
threat: Such actions could lead to rejected
college applications.
For better or worse, student activism
has long been part of the fabric of higher
ed, whether it concerns gun control,
immigration issues, women's rights,
police brutality, sexual assault or even a
university's investments in fossil fuels.
After the initial wave of protests, a

number of colleges acknowledged that
heritage and announced they wouldn't
hold students liable for these disciplinary
actions. Seattle University, California
Institute of Technology, MIT, DePaul
University, Dartmouth College, Saint
Anselm College and Smith College
are among the schools clarifying how a
disciplinary citation on their applications
may be viewed by admissions officers.
At the University of Southern
California, Director of Undergraduate
Admission Kirk Brennan has made it
clear that students need not worry. "We
consider information about disciplinary
action carefully, not formulaically. We
hope to understand lessons learned,
with an eye to a student's potential
contributions to learning," he said in
a statement. "Though it is rare, we
sometimes choose to deny or rescind
admission of students who appear to be
threats to our community standards. But

GETTYIMAGES.COM: COMOMOLAS

Post-protest: Colleges overlook HS activism

we have also welcomed students who
have shown they have moved beyond
temporary lapses in judgment. The goal is
education, not further punishment."
Elsewhere, there is a recognition of the
importance of free speech and the right
to protest. "Virginia State University and
our fellow HBCUs were literally built and
sustained on the idea of peaceful protest,"
noted President Makola M. Abdullah
on Twitter. "A student's participation in
peaceful protest will not impact their
application negatively. We encourage all
students engaged in peaceful protest to
apply." -Tim Goral

ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

Teaching future teachers to address school violence
The ongoing wave of school violence has
forced higher ed to enhance emergencyresponse training in teacher education programs. Arming teachers, increasing school
entrance security and assigning armed
guards are a few solutions being debated.
Some colleges now train future teachers
to spot and assist troubled students before
violent intentions become violent actions.
Along with crisis intervention, these teaching students examine mental health and
learn to recognize signs of abuse, harassment and bullying, says Rosa Pietanza, a
former high school principal and clinical
assistant professor with New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
12 | April 2018

New York mandates two hours of
school violence prevention training for
education students. At NYU, professors
use crisis situations from their previous
education experience to prepare students
for potential incidents. Students learn how
to spot troubled individuals, how to talk
to them in various situations, and who to
reach out to in orchestrating help.
Responses to the professors' scenarios
get analyzed by a panel of experts, school
counselors, youth development directors
and health directors. "These professionals
have a deep understanding of what the
laws say, and how to navigate them," says
Pietanza. "It gives students the language
of these situations." Confidentiality and

reporting protocols are given close attention during these sessions.
NYU teaching candidates get a firsthand look at today's K12 climate during
a six-hour school observation and panel
with high school students. The teaching
students-who include future building
leaders, speech pathologists and counselors-also analyze school safety plans and
suggest improvements. "Each student
brings the lens of their particular specialization to the conversation," says Pietanza.
"School safety is such a large issue, but we
teach the importance of building strong
relationships between students and faculty
as the best way to help troubled individuals." -Stefanie Botelho
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business April 2018

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