Skip to main content

The U of M will stop asking applicants about prior felonies

It's the latest in the "ban the box" movement.

The University of Minnesota will no longer ask applicants about prior felony convictions.

This comes at the recommendation of the Student Senate, which in 2015 said the university should remove the criminal history disclosure question from the application because it can disproportionately affect certain groups of people and deter people from applying, without any concrete evidence that it makes the campus safer.

So, starting with the 2018 class, the U of M will no longer ask prospective students if they have prior felonies, the Pioneer Press reports. The university made this announcement in a letter sent out last month. According to the Minnesota Daily, it said:

“Our goal in the admissions process is to ensure access for all qualified students, while ensuring the safety and academic integrity of our student body. We do, however, recognize the racial biases of our criminal justice system. We will continue to look at these application questions and analyze the data from the response as we move forward.”

Bob McMaster, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, told the Minnesota Daily the decision to do so was made because "those individuals did not represent a threat to our campus."

The U of M will still ask if students have been convicted of sexual offenses or have been punished for academic dishonesty, with McMaster telling the paper they feel that's something they need to know.

Those applying for student housing will still be asked about their criminal history, the Pioneer Press notes. And the criminal history question will still be on the Common App, which allows prospective students to apply to roughly 700 colleges (including the University of Minnesota) using one application.

'Ban the box'

The move by the University of Minnesota is part of a larger movement to "ban the box" on college and job applications.

The campaign – which has been supported by President Barack Obama and the U.S. Department of Education – aims to protect applicants from being asked about their criminal histories on applications.

Supporters of the movement say those who are asked the question feel like they aren't going to get into the school or get the job because they have a felony, the Atlantic reported. While The Marshall Project noted the box doesn't give applicants a chance to explain what their criminal history is.

survey published in 2014 found 35 percent of postsecondary institutions that were surveyed had denied admission or enrollment to at least one person due to their criminal history.

Some institutions are required to ask the question because of state law, the Atlantic noted.

Next Up

image

Fatal crash under investigation on Hwy 62 in Mendota Heights

The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating the crash near Dodd Road.

Pixabay bike wheel

Driver strikes 5 bicyclists near Mapleton

The Sheriff's Office has indicated that those injured were children.

Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 3.13.52 PM

The former Bachelor Farmer space is sold in Minneapolis

A new restaurant is expected to open next year.

flooding on Interstate 90

Supercharged atmosphere causing more mega-rain events

There could be a mega-rain event Saturday-Sunday in Minnesota, Wisconsin and/or Iowa.

9Rhiw3Tw

Massive Burnsville landfill expansion nears final approvals

The City of Burnsville and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are accepting public feedback on the proposal.

Screen Shot 2022-08-05 at 2.35.39 PM

Kyle Rittenhouse attorney to defend accused Apple River killer Nicolae Miu

The attorney who helped Kyle Rittenhouse be acquitted of all charges is defending the alleged Apple River mass stabber.

Screen Shot 2022-08-05 at 7.55.41 AM

Minneapolis police trying to ID pair in connection to fatal shooting

Police say the two people pictured are connected to the fatal shooting of Ivan Redday last month.

ambulance

17-year-old girl killed in southern Minnesota crash

The crash happened early Thursday morning near Lake Crystal.

Tim Gannon

Ex-Brooklyn Center police chief sues city over resignation

Tim Gannon alleges he was forced to resign following the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.

boat, boating, lake

Men injured after boat crash sends propeller spinning onto craft

The motor reportedly flew out of the water and severely injured two men on the boat.

tunnel-g713f450fe_1280

Officials investigating possible spill near Enbridge pipeline in Wisconsin

It comes as another water spill is being reported at Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota.

Related

U of M has a new plan to educate students, staff to prevent sexual assaults

President Kaler says there's "much more we can do and need to do" to prevent sexual assaults.

'Unusual' 6 percent drop in international undergraduate applications at the U of M

International student applications have fallen at 40 percent of U.S. colleges, with some suggesting the government's harsher immigration stance could be behind it.

Arrest made in one of seven recent anti-Semitic incidents at U of M

There have been several anti-Semitic incidents on campus lately.

U of M calls uptick in anti-Semitism 'abhorrent and alarming'

There have been at least eight anti-Semitic incidents on campus since December.

Addressing racial disparities is critical to ending violence in schools, task force says

The task force started after an uptick in violent incidents at Ramsey County schools.

University of minnesota sign

NBC story about cheap U of M classes for seniors sparks outrage

A decades-old program allowing seniors to take classes for $10 or less was featured on NBC Nightly News.