UW Chancellors Debating Criminal Background Checks for Applications

Should students applying to go to college be subjected to criminal background checks?

The University of Wisconsin is considering the idea.

The chancellor said she believes parents would find it disturbing that campus officials don't know whether students have felony backgrounds and is hoping for a change.

Demonstrations occurred this week on the UW-Madison campus following news that a student previously convicted of burning down two churches tried to set up a white nationalist group on campus.

"I myself think it's untenable that I would not know that I have someone in the campus community who has a past felony background,” said the chancellor.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank is using that case in a call for a policy change that would allow her to look a criminal history of university applicants.

Blank said system president ray cross is open to that review and cross mentions the UW-Madison student with two hate crime convictions in this letter to UW Chancellors.

Blank made it clear she wouldn't use criminal past to immediately disqualify an applicant.

"I think in no way should criminal past history should be a bar to admissions," said Blank.

Earlier this week the league of women voters came out against this plan.

Blank said the system would decide how criminal background history could be used.

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