Nicolas Rothbacher 0

Make University of Puget Sound Admissions Box Blind

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The Common Application is a widely used tool amongst colleges and universities all over the country. Although it has made applying to college a simpler process in providing the ability for students to only fill out one application to send to many schools, it discriminates against and deters applicants with these questions on criminal and disciplinary history ("the box"):

  • Have you ever been found responsible for a disciplinary violation at any educational institution you have attended from the 9th grade (or the international equivalent) forward, whether related to academic misconduct or behavioral misconduct, that resulted in a disciplinary action?
  • Have you ever been adjudicated guilty or convicted of a misdemeanor, felony, or other crime?

The box on the Common Application creates a barrier to higher education for those who are formerly incarcerated and disproportionately impact individuals from marginalized communities, deterring many before the application is even complete and denying many more in the admissions process.

The University of Puget Sound has stated that these questions are essential to their "holistic evaluation" of every applicant and that applicants have been judged in the past on the basis of their criminal or disciplinary records at least in part. This practice makes the institution implicit in this discrimination that so disproportionately effects people from marginalized backgrounds. And it is vital to us, students of the University of Puget Sound, that this unjust practice cease.

The UPS Student Alliance for Prison Reform are working with the Incarceration to Education Coalition, based out of NYU, to get the box removed from the Common Application altogether; but first, we must abolish the box from our own campus to push back injustice and show the Common Application leadership that this is what we as a member institution desire. We therefore demand that the university become "box blind" and opt out of receiving information about an applicants criminal and disciplinary history from the Common Application.

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