Bill Would Remove Criminal History from Illinois College Applications

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Everyone must explain their criminal history when applying for college. But that could change with a new proposal. After the person is accepted. Then school officials are allowed to ask about criminal history.

It’s a measure that doesn’t sit well with other students.

“What if someone is it rapists and that’s a big problem on college campuses,” said Brianna Pierson.

Brianna Pierson says her first year at UIS has been a safe one. But she fears a new proposal could allow convicted felons to apply to college without anyone knowing it.

“Well consider all the facts first of all and just consider who they’re trying to bring around their students,” said Pierson.

The bill says state colleges can’t ask prospective students about their criminal backgrounds during the admissions process.

“I think that college should be aware of that. It should be held under the same standards as getting a job,” said Pierson.

The legislation wants to offer people who have committed a crime a chance to  close the doors on their past but the idea isn’t sitting well with those on campus.

“No that doesn’t seem safe to me at all,” said Pierson.

Students say they’re all for giving people a second chance in life. But they aren’t fond of this approach.

“I feel like there are other ways to go about giving felons or criminals a fresh start,” said Taylor Dent.

UIS junior, Taylor Dent said, campuses deserve to know the criminal history of those living and studying around them.

“We have the right to know who we’re going to be in classrooms with possibly even the same housing with.”

After the admission process the college could then start asking the tough questions. At that time the school would need to offer the appropriate accommodations for that student.

“I do feel that felons and criminals should have a fresh start they should get awarded that chance. I just think that there should be another process,” said Dent.

A college can not repeal its decision based on the information they received on a student’s criminal past.

There are times in the proposal when criminal history is needed. We’re digging deeper. A college may consider someone’s past convictions to decide if they can participate in school activities or be placed in housing.
 

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