1. The Criminal Background Question: Impact on Admissions and Student Life

The Criminal Background Question: Impact on Admissions and Student Life

The Criminal Background Question: Impact on Admissions and Student Life
Event ID: 18704
Session ID: 15933

Duration: 90 minutes including question and answer session.
Presenter: Ina R. Silvergleid, founder, A Bridge Forward LLC
Price: $299.00 On-Demand includes full audio presentation, question and answer session, and presentation slides.
Who Should Attend? Administrators, admissions, faculty, staff, higher education counsel
Best For: Higher Education

In recent years a vigorous debate has been waged over the propriety of colleges asking student applicants to disclose whether they have a criminal background, especially since studies show that including a criminal history question on an application for admissions ends up dissuading students (particularly, students of color) from even applying. Several colleges have even removed this question from their college applications. Even the widely-used Common Application announced earlier this year that will no longer include a criminal history question starting with its 2019-2020 application.

But there remain instances where colleges have a valid reason to ask an applicant if he/she has a criminal record. In highly regulated fields (e.g., finance and banking, healthcare, education), having a criminal record can disqualify someone from working in that industry. When colleges fail to inform students that their criminal record will (or may) bar them from seeking employment in their field of study they do just as much harm as the institutions who reject an applicant because he or she has a criminal record.

Please join Ina Silvergleid for a webinar that explores the implications of including a criminal history question on your admissions application. Given that one-third of the U.S. population has an arrest record and the number of individuals who have a criminal record in the U.S. is equal to the number of people who have a college diploma, the impact of this decision on your institution should not be underestimated.


Just a sampling of what this webinar will cover:

  • Which states have (or tried) enacting legislation limiting a college or university's ability to inquire into a prospective student applicant's criminal background.
  • The underlying factors that cause someone to get caught up in the criminal justice system & what role colleges can play in addressing some of these factors (e.g., substance abuse, mental illness).
  • Under which circumstances it is both appropriate and necessary to inquire whether an applicant has a criminal background (based on proposed course of study).
  • Examples (looking at a sampling of state laws) of how a criminal background can keep someone from working in certain licensed professions (e.g., education/teaching, healthcare).
  • Examples of federally-regulated industries that aren't criminal background friendly (e.g, banking, financial services, anything requiring Homeland Security clearance).
  • Understanding how juvenile and adult criminal records differ from one another.
  • The prevalent role criminal background checks now play in the employment arena and the role Ban-the-Box laws to combat this.
  • The importance of knowing whether the state where you reside gives people the right to expunge or seal their criminal history and making this information available to students, especially to those who are arrested while attending college or are facing barriers to entering their field of study.


Your conference leader for “The Criminal Background Question: Impact on Admissions and Student Life” is Ina R. Silvergleid, attorney at law and founder of A Bridge Forward LLC, Legal Pathways to a Brighter Future. Ms. Silvergleid is an experienced employment law attorney with a broad background in the legal and practical issues that school systems face in dealing with their employees and students.

Ms. Silvergleid has a B.S. degree in communications from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is a graduate of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. Following graduation, she clerked for two years for the Honorable Dean Whipple, a U.S. district court judge for the Western District of Missouri. She worked in the Cook County State’s Attorney Office, where she defended county officials against allegations of discrimination and violations under the U.S. Constitution, then worked for Dowd, Bloch & Bennett, specializing in union and multi-employer fund representation. Later accepting a position in the legal department of the U.S. Postal Service, she represented the agency before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She has also served as a staff attorney in the Labor and Employment practice group of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Ms. Silvergleid has published numerous articles, book chapters, and guidance materials on a wide range of legal issues including Preventing and Managing Workplace Violence: Legal and Strategic Guidelines, American Bar Association.

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