A measure which would prohibit any public or private college or university in the state from asking about or considering an applicant’s criminal history during the admissions process was defeated in the Illinois House of Representatives Friday morning.
The bill, sponsored by Chicago Democrat Mary Flowers, provided exceptions to comply with federal law and a state law that requires medical schools to check the criminal history of applicants, but that wasn’t assurance enough for many members, especially those who have colleges, universities, and community colleges in their districts. The measure was defeated on a vote of 40 in favor, 60 against. Supporters of the bill said It would not prevent campus officials from asking students who have already enrolled questions about past criminal acts.
Opponents, like State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) who appreciates Representative Flowers attempt to make higher education available to a larger pool of individuals, however, she wants to make sure that students who choose to stay in Illinois to go to college are safe. Attached are comments from the representative during debate. In addition to being concerned about the safety aspect, Hammond also believes there needs to be a common application among Illinois colleges.