University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Senate

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February 9, 1998



Senate Committee on Admissions


AD.98.01 Proposal to Approve Criminal History Review and Appeal Processes


This proposal, hereby submitted for Senate approval, is designed to implement and supplement a policy presented as an Information item to the Senate and approved in concept by the Council of Deans in the Spring of 1997, following its development, review and recommendation by the Senate Committee on Admissions, General University Policy Committee, Senate Council and the A&A Deans Group. This policy calls for the solicitation and consideration of information on relevant criminal history from applicants for admission. It involves the constitution of a Case Review Committee and an Appeals Committee. This policy is now being followed on an interim basis. As presented below, it would further involve the addition of a special feature in the case of programs in which graduates face licensure or certification requirements.

1. The Case Review Committee

The Case Review Committee will be appointed by the Director of Admissions and Records. The proposed membership of the Case Review Committee is two members of the faculty designated by the Senate, one of whom will be recommended by the Committee on Admissions; and representatives from the offices of the Dean of Students, Legal Counsel, Residential Life, Counseling Center, University Police, and the Provost. In cases involving graduate students, a representative from the Graduate College is to be added to the committee. For international students, a representative from the Office of International Student Affairs is to be added. Terms of service for faculty members normally will be three years (staggered).

When an application is received disclosing a criminal history and the administering office has received information that the student is admissible on academic grounds, that office will circulate written information on the application and ballots for the review of the committee.

The committee will submit its recommendations on undergraduate admissions to an Assistant or Associate Director of Admissions and Records designated by the Director. Recommendations on graduate admissions will be submitted to an Assistant or Associate Dean of the Graduate College to be designated by the Dean of the Graduate College. For undergraduate applicants, the Director of Admissions will make the final decision on admission; graduate admissions decisions will be made by the Dean of the Graduate College. In each case, the committee will be informed of the outcome. The process provides for an appeal of the admissions decision; the appeal will be submitted to and heard by the Office of the Provost.

2. The Appeals Committee

The Appeals Committee will be appointed by the Provost. It will comprise three faculty members selected from among a larger number nominated by the Senate; the Dean of Students; and a representative from the Office of the Provost. None of these individuals will be members of the Case Review Committee. They will receive written information, including documentation submitted by applicants, the materials reviewed by the Case Review Committee and its recommendations, and any opinion developed by the Director of Admissions. The Appeals Committee will provide its advice on the disposition of appeals to the Provost, who will make the final determination on admission. Terms of service for faculty members normally will be three years (staggered).

3. Accommodation of Programs with Certification Requirements

The initiating document, presented to the Senate as an Information item in the Spring of 1997 (attached), makes clear that units will not be informed of an applicantís disclosed criminal history until the Case Review Committee (CRC) has completed its work, and then only if the CRC recommended denial of admission or admission with conditions. The unit of an applicant with a criminal history not impinging upon the safety of other members of our community thus would not ever learn of the applicantís disclosure.

Since the Committee on Admissions reviewed and recommended the above policy, several units have come forward to request consideration of their special circumstances. These units are in fields with certification requirements that will bar students with certain criminal histories from achieving certification. The College of Law is in this situation and already seeks and considers such information in its admission process. Other units requesting a modification of the process for reasons of this sort include the School of Social Work (graduate programs) and teacher education programs (for undergraduates). A list of the offenses barring teacher certification is attached for information purposes. Clinical psychologists may face similar licensing requirements, but that program has not yet made a request for an alteration in the approved procedure.

The modification now proposed was developed to accommodate the expressed concerns of programs with special certification requirements while respecting the widely-held view on campus that our procedure must balance community safety with individual privacy and dignity.

This modification is that a representative from a program demonstrating the existence of such associated certification requirements is to be added to the Case Review Committee when an applicant to the program discloses a criminal history. Thus, for example, the CRC for a graduate student applying to the MSW program disclosing a criminal history would include the standard CRC membership plus a representative from the Graduate College and a designee of the Dean of the School of Social Work, typically the Schoolís Director of Admissions. If the applicant is an international student, a third member from the Office of International Student Affairs would also join the committee for consideration of that case.

In the unlikely event that the CRC recommends admission of a student the program believes would not be suitable for licensure, the programís representative to CRC would be entitled to reveal and to use the information in the Schoolís independent admissions process.

Senate Committee on Admissions

Hiram Paley, Chair