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Mayors Team Up to Ask Colleges to Stop Asking Students About Criminal History on Applications

Mayors Team Up to Ask Colleges to Stop Asking Students About Criminal History on Applications

33 mayors led by Los Angeles’ mayor Eric Garcetti have teamed up to ask colleges and universities to stop asking about students’ criminal history on applications, arguing that even asking is enough to scare students away.

The mayors and other advocates for this reformed college application say the change will remove at least one component that makes up the school-to-prison pipeline,a phenomenon that strips countless disadvantaged students of equal opportunity.

The U.S. Department of Education under John B. King, Jr.’s leadership is similarly against applications that deter most students who have been previously involvement with the justice system.

In May, "the Education Department along with the Department of Justice released 'Beyond the Box,' a guide to best practices for colleges. In it was a letter urging colleges to 'attract a diverse and qualified student body without creating unnecessary barriers for prospective students who have been involved with the justice system,’” said the Los Angeles Times.

While advocates acknowledge that criminal history can be an important thing to know and understand about a potential student, they argue that colleges should ask applicants for more information after the initial application. This way, students with even a minor criminal history aren’t deterred from beginning the application process the begin with.

“We just know having it at the initial application process in the time when a person is trying to put forward their best selves has caused very qualified and engaged applicants to disengage,” said Kimberley Guillemet, ‎manager of The Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Reentry to the LA Times.

Read the full story here. 

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor



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