- Associated Press - Thursday, February 2, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The League of Women Voters has joined those who are fighting against the use of criminal background checks as part of the admissions process at University of Wisconsin campuses.

University Chancellor Rebecca Blank said last week she would ask the university system’s Board of Regents to consider adding criminal background checks to the application, The Capital Times (https://bit.ly/2k02Jbs ) reported.

The suggestion came after it was revealed that a student working to organize a branch of the white nationalist American Freedom Party on campus had been convicted of the arson of two predominantly black churches.

The league’s president, Andrea Kaminski, said in a letter to Blank that the nonpartisan organization’s opposition grows out of its long-standing belief that an ex-offender’s civil rights should be fully restored.

“We have steadfastly monitored and challenged any proposed encroachment of this standard in all facets of public policy,” Kaminski wrote.

Kaminski added that the league has advocated for not allowing employers to consider criminal records in hiring unless the offense is related to the work the person would be doing.

“We believe the same principle should apply to UW student admissions,” she wrote.

On Jan. 27, Blank sent a letter to UW System President Ray Cross asking for a discussion about her criminal records proposal.

“I do not believe a felony conviction should be an automatic bar to admission,” Blank said. “But there are risks in remaining entirely ignorant of an applicant’s felony record.”

Kaminski said in the letter that her organization hopes Blank’s proposal will be “carefully considered and rejected.”


Information from: The Capital Times, https://www.madison.com/tct

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