Three New York schools will stop asking prospective students about prior contact with police as part of a recent agreement with Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
St. John's University, Dowling College and Five Towns College will revise their current admissions policies in regards to applicants' legal histories, no longer asking about arrests without conviction or sealed or pardoned records.
“An arrest or police stop that did not result in a conviction, or a criminal record that was sealed or expunged, should not – indeed must not – be a standard question on a college application," Schneiderman said. "Such a question can serve only to discourage New Yorkers from seeking a higher education. To the contrary, we need to provide opportunities to everyone seeking to better their futures."
The Attorney General's office became involved after questions were raised about St. John's application, which required all applicants to disclose all legal contact on the enrollment application. The attorney general determined that this practice was unfair to African-American and Hispanic men due to their increased likelihood of being stopped or detained for minor issues.
"My office will work to ensure that all applicants receive fair treatment when applying to a college, a university or for a job," Schneiderman said.