Common request of the university stop asking prospective students about their criminal record

The common application will no longer automatically ask applicants about criminal history, but will allow individual schools to determine if they wish to include the question.

Starting next year, the common application will no longer ask applicants about their criminal record.

The non-profit organization behind the general application, which allows prospective students to apply to any of the 830 schools that use it, announced this week that individual institutions will have the option to add the question, but will no longer be included. automatically from it. in 2019.

Civil rights activists have been pushing for the issue to be removed for several years, claiming that it creates a bias against minority applicants.

The common application will no longer automatically ask applicants about criminal history, but will allow individual schools to determine if they wish to include the question.

The common application will no longer automatically ask applicants about criminal history, but will allow individual schools to determine if they wish to include the question.

An email sent from the common application to members on Tuesday indicated that those within the organization were divided on the issue.

"Members' comments show that there are strong and different opinions regarding both keeping the" common "question, and leaving the decision on whether and how to ask the question to individual members," the email said.

"While most respondents would prefer to keep the question in the" common "part of the application, we find variations in the preferences of members according to the type of institution and other factors.

"For example, the majority of respondents from public institutions preferred that the question be asked at the discretion of the member."

While the criminal history question will be omitted from the application, the organization has decided to keep the question about disciplinary incidents in high school for the time being.

Critics of criminal and disciplinary background questions claim that admissions officers often do not take into account social factors and biases that may have affected applicants, specifically those who are black or Latino.

They also question how much weight should be awarded to an infraction committed by a student years before his decision to apply.

The former executive director of the Center for Community Alternatives, Marsha Weissman, called to eliminate the question "one step ahead", although "long ago".

Weissman told Inside Higher Ed that the move "transfers responsibility to individual universities that may be easier to hear from their student groups and teachers, including those directly affected, about whether this should be changed and how."

"As an advocate of removing such questions from applications, I am optimistic that many, if not most, institutes and universities will choose not to do so," he added.

However, Weissman expressed his criticism of the organization's decision to keep the question about the disciplinary history.

"Leaving the question about school discipline, at least when it comes to high school, is ridiculous based on the vagaries of how discipline varies by district, school and classroom," he said.

It gets a little more than garbage, but unfortunately trash that has roots in racial prejudice. It also exaggerates the behavior of adolescents, and contradicts the science of adolescent brain development. Even the juvenile justice system recognizes it.

On the other side of the discussion, many university officials have defended the questions on the grounds that previous criminals are more likely to commit future crimes.

In addition, supporters point out that certain careers, such as health and education, do not allow convicts to take licensure exams.

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