While it is gratifying to see the important topic of college access for formerly incarcerated applicants getting attention, the article did not make mention of the role that students themselves are taking on this issue. The problem of barriers to college admission has been a growing area of advocacy among criminal reform groups on college campuses across the country. Last year, Students for Prison Education and Reform, an advocacy group at Princeton, started the Admissions Opportunity Campaign (AOC). The campaign calls on Princeton to stop receiving information about criminal records from the Common Application for undergraduate admission.
This year, organizations associated with other schools such as NYU, Puget Sound, University of Washington, Harvard and Columbia have started similar movements on their respective campuses. In April, representatives from many of these schools, and others, will convene at Princeton to coordinate efforts for a national campaign. These campaigns reflect a growing concern among students with the way that the Common Application and university admissions departments have become complicit with the racial discrimination, excessive punishment and failed reentry policies of the country’s broken criminal justice apparatus.