In light of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Pacific University is joining in a nationwide school walkout against gun violence on March 14.
The walkout, being led by the Undergraduate Student Senate (USS) and supported by the Pacific University administration, will take place on the University Center patio. And will last 17 minutes for each of the 17 students killed in the Parkland shooting.
There will be speakers, a moment of silence and informational booths on voting and contacting local and national legislators at the event as well.
According to USS President Katie Lightcap, the walkout will be used as a way to remember the lives taken by gun violence, and to start conversations on campus.
While planning for the event, the USS reached out to Pacific faculty to ensure no students would face any consequences as a result of their choosing to walkout during class time.
“We got permission from the Dean of Academics that it is okay to walkout,” Steve Klein, the director of the University Center and student activities, said.
Lightcap also reached out to Pacific President Lesley Hallick, in an attempt to convince the University to release a statement to both current and prospective students that their status would not be harmed by their choice to participate in student activism.
The nationwide walkout, organized by the Women’s March, already has more than 2,000 schools registered to participate. Every participating body will walk out of class at 10:00 a.m., regardless of time zone, to say in a unified voice, “enough.”
“It’s definitely not about gun control,” Lightcap said. “We want the walkout to be a time to remember the lives that have been taken.”
According to Klein, the walkout will be a time to reinforce and bring the Pacific community together.
“We’re not trying to be Democrats, Republicans, pro-gun, anti-gun,” Klein said. “We’re trying to be a community.”
The USS hopes to continue the conversation sparked by the walkout in an open forum on April 10, during which Lightcap and Klein hopes to invite and have present Campus Public Safety, Campus Wellness and the Counseling Center.
“We need to talk about this as students, faculty and staff,” Klein said. “The more we talk about it, I think, the better off we’re going to be.”