Criminal History Policy - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

Does the University conduct criminal background checks during the admissions process?

No. The university relies upon self-disclosure by applicants and does not run background checks for admissions.

Why does the University require disclosure of criminal histories?

The University is committed to being a welcoming and supportive institution of higher education that encourages access for all qualified students, including applicants who may have a criminal background.  However, the university also exercises due diligence to maintain safe environments for our students, faculty and staff.  Reviewing past conduct, including criminal histories, is one of the many measures the university takes to help secure its campus communities.

How is my criminal history considered?

Once an applicant has been conditionally admitted based on academics, a separate committee will review criminal histories to determine if admitting the student has the potential to adversely impact campus safety and security.  An applicant may be asked to supply additional information about the criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the criminal conviction(s) or pending charges to facilitate the review.

What is the committee and what does it do?

The committee is comprised of university officials from various parts of the university.  The members bring their unique perspectives to consider the potential impact on the campus if the applicant is admitted.  The committee will evaluate the information provided to make an admission recommendation to either: (1) admit, (2) admit with conditions, or (3) rescind the admissions offer.

What information must I disclose?

If an applicant has been found legally responsible for a criminal offense, or if the applicant has criminal charges pending, the applicant must provide a description of the incident(s) and outcome(s) (if applicable), as well as documents such as court records, charging document, case docket, judgement orders or other disposition paperwork, and conditional discharge, probation or parole requirements.  Documentation is usually available from the county were the conviction occurred.  The committee may also require a release permitting the university to access the full record.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to provide a narrative explaining the matter. (See Policy for factors considered by the committee).

What factors does the committee consider?

The committee considers multiple factors, including the nature and seriousness of the conduct, whether the conduct involved violence, and the applicant's age.  See Policy for more information.

Do I need to disclose sealed or expunged records?

No.  Applicants do not need to disclose expunged, sealed, annulled, pardoned, destroyed, erased, impounded or other information otherwise required by law or ordered by a court to be kept confidential.

Do I need to disclose juvenile records?

Under Illinois law, juvenile adjudication is not considered a conviction nor are adjudicated juveniles considered criminals.  (See 705 ILCS 405/1-8.)  However, if a juvenile was charged as an adult, the information must be disclosed.

I previously completed a criminal background check - is that sufficient?

No.

What happens if I am dishonest and/or fail to disclose criminal history information?

Failure to disclose pertinent information, giving false information, or providing falsified documents may result in rescission of a conditional admission or disciplinary action, including dismissal.

What happens if I don't respond to the request for information?

Failure to comply with requests for information may result in delays in the criminal history review, rescission of a conditional admission, or disciplinary actions, including dismissal.

Will a criminal history limit my academic program and/or career options?

In most cases, a criminal conviction will not automatically preclude an applicant from entering a certain academic program or related career.  In some cases, there may be some incompatibility with the university program and/or related career (i.e., licensing requirements).  Admission to alternative programs may be recommended in those instances instead of rescission of a conditional admission.

Will a criminal history review automatically lead to rescission of my conditional admission?

Historically, most criminal history reviews have resulted in admission with or without conditions.  However, each case is evaluated independently and rescission may occur.

What are some examples of "admit with conditions"?

Conditions vary and depend upon the facts and circumstances of each situation.  Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Required completion of a campus-based drug and alcohol educational programming and/or utilize support resources;
  • Restriction to online-only degree programs and/or utilizing support resources;
  • Restriction from living in university housing or to certain areas of campus.

Can I appeal a decision?

Yes, an appeal process is available at each university.

Will my information be shared with anyone?

The committee is comprised of trained and experienced professionals well versed in the expectations of maintaining privacy.  Information provided to the committee will be shared with only those university officials who have a legitimate educational interest.

Can I contact a person to receive more information?

Yes.  The appropriate university specific contact office:

Urbana - Office of Student Conflict Resolution (conflictresolution@illinois.edu)

Chicago - Office of Admissions (admissions@uic.edu)

Springfield - Office of the Dean of Students (deanofstudents@uis.edu)