Albany, NY - September 14, 2016 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo stated:
“I commend the SUNY Board of Trustees for acting today to remove questions about a prospective student’s criminal history from admissions applications. I directed SUNY leadership to carefully examine this issue, because re-entry reform is a priority for my administration. We must help individuals who have served their time to move past their mistakes.
“Research shows that a majority of candidates who are asked to disclose prior felony convictions on SUNY admissions applications do not complete the process. This has a particularly negative impact on applicants of color as a result of racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
“I also commend the Board of Trustees for recognizing that questions about a student’s prior felony offenses can be relevant to some aspects of the college experience. Under the reasoned proposal adopted by the Trustees, schools will be permitted to inquire about prior convictions on applications for campus housing, or participation in study-abroad or other specialized programs, and each will go through a careful, individualized assessment.
“Higher education represents an important stepping stone toward personal and professional fulfillment. Every New Yorker deserves a fair and equal chance to achieve their goals.”