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IUP faculty supports student protest

Debra Erdley
| Monday, March 12, 2018, 5:45 p.m.

Faculty members at Indiana University of Pennsylvania are going on record in support of students who opt to participate in Wednesday's national protests against gun violence.

Students at public schools and colleges across the country are expected to walk out of class for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. Wednesday in a peaceful protest designed to lobby for stronger gun laws and to memorialize the 17 students and faculty members who died on Feb. 14 when 19-year-old Nicholas Cruz opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at a Parkland, Fla., high school.

A spokesman for the IUP chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties said APSCUF members Saturday voted “overwhelmingly” in favor a resolution to stand in support of students who opt to join the walkout.

The resolution, which urged IUP President Michael Driscoll to set aside any negative marks current high school students receive for participating in the walkout, mirrored statements many colleges and universities have released.

Todd N. Thompson, IUP English professor and department co-chair said the faculty union steered clear of lobbying for particular reform measures. Support for protesting students is the extent to which the union can go, Thompson said.

“APSCUF is not a political body, so we can't make a political statement,” Thompson said. “We are just doing what we can do support students.”

The IUP resolution is similar to one the statewide union executive council approved on March 9.

It reads: “Be it resolved that IUP-APSCUF stands in solidarity with those who engage in any walkout or protest against gun violence in schools, colleges, and universities nationwide. IUP-APSCUF supports any student who chooses to protest said gun violence. Further, IUP-APSCUF requests our university president instruct the office of admissions that no protest or walkout for school safety resulting in negative marks on a current high school student's record will be taken into account in their application for admission to IUP.”

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996 or or via Twitter @deberdley_trib

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