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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 4, 2013 at 6:59 AM

UW applicants asked for criminal history

People deserve a second chance

After reading the article about University of Washington applicants being required to share their criminal histories, I believe that students are not being treated equally and are being judged for their past. [“Applicants to UW will be asked of past crimes,” Northwest Wednesday, July 31.]

In the fall, the UW will be adding a section on the admission application, asking students if they have ever been convicted of a violent felony offense or if they have been required to register as a sex offender in the U.S. or any other country.

I understand the reason for doing this: keeping the rest of the student body safe. However, I believe the UW is not giving these people a second chance.

Not all people who commit crimes are bad people. They could have been hanging out with the wrong crowd or have gone through a horrible time in their life. Whatever it is, they are obviously going back to school because they want to turn their life around.

The article states that they have the opportunity to explain their convictions and it does not automatically deny their admission. As a recent college graduate, I don’t necessarily believe that. I think that if you have something on your record, the university is automatically making a judgment.

I hope the UW will rethink its application process. Everyone deserves a second chance, a fair shot and, most important, a great education.

Sarah Kurtz, Seattle

Comments | More in Education, Seattle | Topics: applicants, criminal history, felony

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