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Did the College Board Use Florida Shooting as Advertising Strategy?

A controversial mass email sent by the College Board on Wednesday has gone viral.

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A controversial mass email sent by the College Board on Wednesday has gone viral, eliciting a wave of public backlash against the organization’s alleged attempt to exploit last Wednesday’s Florida school shooting massacre to advertise the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

In his email to fellow colleagues and education administrators, College Board President David Coleman began his message by conveying College Board’s condolences to individuals and families affected by the tragedy. Coleman progressed to commend the efforts of student activist coalitions and draws upon Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez’s plea for gun control legislative reform.

He emphasized on how he felt “compelled to share the unadulterated, impassioned voice of a student,” whose exposure to AP Government has equipped her with necessary skills to identify evidence. However, Coleman expressed his conflicting perspective to Gonzalez’s position on gun control, asserting his belief that Gonzalez could have attempted “to better understand the positions of gun rights proponents.”

Coleman also references a published interview of another Stoneman Douglas student David Hogg, in which Hogg credits his AP History class for spurring his interest in the role of journalism in society, declaring that David Hogg’s words honor Advanced Placement teachers everywhere, for they reflect their power to open worlds and futures to students.”

Provoked by the contents of the email, several recipients have unleashed their ire on social media platforms. Andrew B. Palumbo, the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, tweeted his outrage in a reply to Jon Boesckenstedt, the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing at DePaul University, calling for College Board to immediately issue an apology to the public.

Former chairman of College Board’s science academic advisory committee, Jennifer Pfannerstill, tendered in her formal resignation on Thursday afternoon, citing that she is unable to “advocate for, and stand by, [an] organization that in one of our nation’s times of trial, would question the very students who allow them to exist and would promote itself as the only program to teach students how to use evidence”

The College Board has since broken its silence, publishing a public apology in an attempt to appease its angered social media followers and critics, exerting that they had no intention of diverting the attention away from the plights of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School survivors and their community.

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Rachel is a senior at UCLA majoring in Art History

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