University of Washington's policy around criminal history on admissions was crafted both carefully and narrowly. We did examine research on the topic, and we also solicited and listened to feedback both from undergraduate and graduate student governments and from the Student Advisory Board of the Office of Minority Affaris and Diversity. We explictly did not ask about drug-related crimes, which is the category of crime that differentiates high school graduates by ethnicity. Moreover, the manner in which we asked the question allows sutdents who have committed a felony level violent crime or who are Level Two sexual offenders to make a case as to why we should not be concerned about this in terms of campus safety.
I have worked with numerous students with criminal backgrounds in the past, and have no intention or desire to eliminate those with such histories when they are commited to rehabilitation. Please note that a recent book writen by a UW student who had such a background (see the Boy with a Gun written by Brandon Stogsdill now available on Amazon.com) thanks me in the credits, because I was (and continue to be) a mentor.
Please be aware that it is members of minority communities that are most often the target of violent crimes in our society and it was voices from this community that were most vocal in their alarm about hearing that their were students in their classes with records of extremely violent crimes, who had been admitted with absolutely no screening.
I am 100% committed to ensuring the at the University of Washington remain a place where any academically qualified student, with a desire to build a better future can received first-class education. This commitment is evident not only in these words, but is clearly seen in my actions over my 30 years as a teacher, mentor, educator and administrator.
This petition is not based on a close look at our policy or an understanding of the history that led to it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Ana Mari Cauce
Provost, Universitty of Washington
Professor of Psychology and American Ethnic Studies