State University of New York Removes Big Question from Student Application


The trustees of the State University of New York voted mid-September to eliminate questions about past felony convictions from its general application starting with the fall 2018 admissions cycle. After admission, students will only be asked to reveal a prior conviction if they are seeking on-campus housing, studying abroad or looking to participate in field experience or internships. The so-called “ban the box” movement nationwide is aimed at preventing discrimination against otherwise qualified employees or students, especially employees or students of color, who might be trying to improve their lives despite a felony conviction.

The resolution cited a study from the state Center for Community Alternatives that found each year, about 3,000 applicants to SUNY schools answer “Yes” to questions about a felony conviction, but just about 1,200 of them go on to complete the application. SUNY General Counsel Joseph Porter also said, in introducing the resolution, that banning the box could provide convicted criminals a lifeline that would prevent them from continuing to commit crimes. This is a historic step, as SUNY is the first university system in the country to reverse its decision to screen for criminal history and remove the question from its admissions application. This will open the doors for thousands of qualified applicants, and could have ripple effects across academia. Governor Andrew Cuomo applauded the move, and stated “we must help individuals who have served their time to move past their mistakes.”

This is a positive step forward for New York, however, there are still a lot of ways in which a criminal record can keep a person from exercising their rights. Employers have the ability to ask and search for criminal records, which can make it hard to get a good job. A New York record seal has multiple benefits, from being able to legally state that you have not been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense to employers and landlords, to improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities. Still, not everyone is eligible for a record seal under the law. A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or Certificate of Good Conduct is an alternate option in terms of restoring your ability to own a firearm, obtain a professional license, and more. You can take our FREE eligibility test or call us toll free to speak with an intake representative right now at 844.208.7812.  We look forward to potentially helping you out!


Daniel J. Falcucci




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