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University of Illinois urged to drop criminal-history queries on applications

URBANA, Ill. — A student group has asked University of Illinois trustees to drop questions from admissions applications about students’ prior criminal and disciplinary history.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports students spoke to trustees during Thursday’s board meeting about dropping the queries from applications for all three UI campuses. Supporters from the Yes Apply at Illinois group held signs reading “All students welcome to apply.”

The university requires applicants to describe their criminal records and high school disciplinary violations. Graduate student Amber Blatt says the questions can be “invasive and humiliating” and discourage students from applying.

UI Director of Admissions Andy Borst says of nearly 40,000 UI applicants, between 100 and 200 each year say ‘yes’ to the disciplinary questions. He says “a handful” of students are denied admission for those reasons.