University will stop asking potential students about felonies

Starting in the fall 2017 application process, the University won’t ask about past felony convictions or pending felony charges on admission applications.

by David Clarey

Questions about past felony convictions or pending charges will be removed from the University of Minnesota’s admission application next year.

Besides the felony question, the University’s application currently asks if the applicant also has a history of academic dishonesty or sexual offenses.

For the fall 2017 application process, the University will remove the felony question from the applications completely.

Questions about past academic dishonesty and sexual offenses will remain on the application, according to a University letter from late last month.

“Our goal in the admissions process is to ensure access for all qualified students, while ensuring the safety and academic integrity of our student body,” the letter said. “We do, however, recognize the racial biases of our criminal justice system. We will continue to look at these application questions and analyze the data from the response as we move forward.”

These changes come more than a year after the University removed questions regarding misdemeanors on the admission application. Last year, the University decided to hide the applicant’s answer to the felony question during admission decisions.

However, the national “Common Application” program — which the University recently joined — asks questions about applicant’s criminal backgrounds.