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March 29 2016

Colleges That Ask Applicants About Brushes With The Law Draw Scrutiny

The online admissions application for Auburn University appears simple, until you get to this question: "Have you ever been charged with or convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to a crime other than a minor traffic offense, or are there any criminal charges now pending against you?" Those who check "yes", even though they have never been convicted of any crime, face extra scrutiny and a follow-up call from the admissions office asking for additional information.
 
Auburn is one of 17 universities in the South that include broad questions on their admissions applications about any contact with the legal system or the police that applicants might have had “even an arrest, with no conviction” according to the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an advocacy group.
 
The universities are now the focus of an inquiry by the organization, which says such questions unfairly penalize minorities, who tend to face arrest more frequently and, as a result, could face higher admissions hurdles.