Blog

 
     

University of Minnesota Adds Ban the Box Policy

By Michael Klazema on 12/13/2016
The University of Minnesota is officially banning the box on its student applications. Per a report from WDAY 6—an ABC affiliate and news station based in North Dakota—the Minnesota state university recently announced the new policy, which will go into effect in 2017. The policy will eliminate questions about criminal history from the admissions application that students must fill out and submit if they are interested in attending the school.

In the past, the University of Minnesota has asked all prospective students if they have any felony convictions on their records. The admissions application has also inquired about whether potential students are facing any pending criminal charges. Per the WDAY 6 report, students applying for admission in fall 2017 or after will no longer have to answer those queries.

Counties, cities, and states across the country have used ban the box policies to bar certain categories of employers from asking candidates about their criminal history. Minnesota is one of the states that, per coverage, has made ban the box policies part of its state legislative agenda. State law requires private employers and public employers alike to scrub questions about criminal history from their job applications.

Usually, as coverage explains, the policies only extend to job applications. While the University of Minnesota could previously have been required to stop asking questions about criminal history on job applications, such questions could remain on admissions applications.

The University of Minnesota is not complying with any laws, ordinances, or other measures in its decision to ban the box for student admissions. Rather, per the institution, the university says that it decided to “ban the box” prospective students because otherwise those criminal history questions might discourage students from applying. Specifically, the university was worried that the policy might be driving away “underrepresented minority populations.”

Since the university doesn’t have to comply with any specific state or regional measures, coverage notes, it can keep certain aspects of its previous policies intact. For instance, the university has said that it will keep questions about sexual offenses and academic dishonesty on the application for admission. Students who have gotten into trouble for academic dishonesty in the past, or those who have been convicted of sex offenses, are still expected to disclose that information on the admission application.

The university has stated that asking about felony history and pending criminal charges is necessary to preserve the safety of its student housing community. Questions about criminal past or present will still be found on the University of Minnesota on-campus housing application.

Sources:

https://www.wday.com/news/minnesota/4173406-u-m-will-ban-box-stop-asking-applicants-about-criminal-history

http://www.nelp.org/content/uploads/Ban-the-Box-Fair-Chance-State-and-Local-Guide.pdf

Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • January 11 — A firefighter in Tacoma, Washington died last summer of a drug overdose. A local newspaper is looking at the interview and screening process breakdowns that might have led to his hiring.
  • January 09 — “Ban the box” legislation has rapidly spread across the country, emerging as city or county ordinances and even as statewide laws. Now, however, an Indiana State Senator wants to ban “ban the box” ordinances in the state.
  • January 05 — Little League International, the organization behind Little League Baseball and Softball programs around the world, has instituted a new background check rule for United States programs. Under the new rule, all affiliated U.S. leagues will be required to run criminal background screenings on their volunteers.
  • January 03 — Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor has approved a law that gives animal shelters in the state the power to run background checks on potential pet adopters. The goal of the legislation is to keep pets out of the hands of known animal abusers.
  • December 29 — The State of Maryland has decided against new regulations that would have added fingerprint background checks and ongoing criminal monitoring for ridesharing companies. Such regulations would have made Maryland the first state to mandate fingerprint checks for ride-hailing services.
  • December 21 — The Department of Transportation is creating a new database to track drug and alcohol infractions for truckers and other commercial drivers. Employers will be required to report infractions to the database and run searches when filling positions that require a commercial driver’s license.
  • December 20 — The Mayor of Los Angeles recently signed into law an initiative that bans the box for private employers. The law also forces private employers to follow an eight-point list of considerations recommended by the EEOC before making any adverse employment decisions based on criminal history.
  • December 19 — In 2007, the 9/11 commission recommended terrorist watch list checks for mass transit employees, including rail and bus workers. That recommendation never became an official rule, but two U.S. Senators are pushing for deeper background checks for all mass transit employees.
  • December 13 — The University of Minnesota has elected to “ban the box” and remove about criminal history from its student admission applications. Prospective students will still be expected to self-disclose past sex offenses or academic dishonesty issues.
  • December 11 — A bus driver in Chattanooga, Tennessee recently crashed his bus into a tree, killing six children and injuring dozens more. The driver had been the subject of numerous complaints in the months and weeks leading up to the tragic incident.