California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Cal Lu Students Plan April 20 Campus Walkout Remembering Columbine

Students and supporters across the country have organized national protests on at least three different dates after 17 people were shot and killed Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Cheyenne Boykin, Katie Knapp and Hannah Whittaker, three California Lutheran University first-years, were inspired by the Parkland student protests to plan a campus-wide walkout for April 20 at 10 a.m. to bring awareness to gun violence and join the discussion about gun control and gun safety, Knapp said.

Students who participate in Cal Lutheranโ€™s April 20 walkout will be joining people around the country protesting to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre that took 13 lives.

Knapp, a political science major, started the Young Democratic Socialists of America Club at Cal Lutheran and is the current president.

โ€œOur representatives havenโ€™t really taken any action to prevent [shootings] in the future. Itโ€™s important to spotlight the issue and hold your representatives accountable,โ€ Knapp said.

Knapp said the walkout is much more than an excuse to get up and leave school โ€“ it has a purpose and a message. She said plans to reach out to activist groups, like the Brady Campaign in Ventura, which focuses on gun control.

โ€œItโ€™s really impactful to me how prevalent the issue of gun violence is,โ€ Knapp said.

Whittaker said she was deeply affected by the Aurora movie theater shooting in 2012 because it was in her home state of Colorado. She said the walkout is a call to action in response to such instances, “because just thoughts and prayers are not always enough.โ€

Womenโ€™s March Youth EMPOWER, a national initiative, called for the previous national school walkout March 14 in honor of the 17 lives lost in Parkland to call attention to Congressโ€™ inaction in response to gun violence, according to its website. According to an article in USA Today, 2,800 schools participated in that protest.

โ€œI think that a lot of people on this campus need an outlet because they have feelings towards what happened, and they might not know how to put those feelings into action,โ€ Whittaker said.

March for Our Lives, a student movement calling attention to gun violence in schools, planned a march on Washington, D.C. Saturday, March 24. Other organizations such as Everytown for Gun Safetyย in addition to independently organized students planned over 835 sibling marches in other towns and cities around the world to coincide with the March on D.C., according to the March For Our Lives website.

Michael Elgarico, director of Undergraduate Admission at Cal Lutheran, said, โ€œI think that many students are really heightened on this topic because they see a lot of themselves in what happened in these other students.โ€

Cal Lutheran has joined a coalition of colleges committing to not penalize applicants and admitted students based on any disciplinary actions shown on high school transcripts for participating in peaceful protest.

The Undergraduate Admissions website states, โ€œWe support our prospective students as they share their voices across the country in peaceful protest and active citizenship.โ€

Cal Lutheran President Chris Kimball said he encourages students and faculty to unite and stand up for what they are passionate about by participating in these protests. He said activism is not just important on college campuses, but is important and present everywhere.

Elgarico said students will still be welcome at Cal Lutheran regardless of discipline from high schools, as long as they use their voices in a thoughtful way.

Rissa Gross

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