Admission and Enrollment of Ex-Offenders/Candidates with Prior Felony Convictions

The admission and/or enrollment of ex-offenders raises many complex questions. When considering admission applications or requests for enrollment from ex-offenders, SUNY Oneonta adheres to the directives included in the State University of New York Fall 1999 Memorandum from the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, which supersedes the Memorandum to Presidents, Volume 81, Number 9, dates August 14, 1981.

State law prohibits discrimination against those previously convicted of criminal offenses (Correction Law, Section 70 et seq.). However, the law specifically allows an institution to deny an application for admission based on an individual’s prior conviction where the admission “would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.”

(Section 752)

  1. In making a determination pursuant to Section 752 of this chapter the public agency or private employer shall consider the following factors:
    1. The public policy of this state, as expressed on this act, to encourage the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses.
    2. The specific duties and responsibilities necessarily related to the license or employment sought.
    3. The bearing, if any, that the criminal offense or offenses for which the person was previously convicted will have on his fitness or ability to perform one or more such duties or responsibilities.
    4. The time which has elapsed since the occurrence of the criminal offense or offenses.
    5. The age of the person at the time of occurrence of the criminal offense or offenses.
    6. The seriousness of the offense or offenses.
    7. Any information produced by the person, or produced on his behalf, in regard to his rehabilitation and good conduct.
    8. The legitimate interest of the public agency or private employer in protecting property, and the safety and welfare of specific individuals or the general public.
  2. In making a determination pursuant to Section 752 of this chapter, the public agency or private employer shall also give consideration to a certificate of relief from disabilities or a certificate of good conduct issued to the applicant, which certificate shall create a presumption of rehabilitation in regard to the offense or offenses specified therein.

Applications to SUNY Oneonta from ex-offenders (already pre-screened by the appropriate college office as potentially admissible applicants) seeking undergraduate admission, graduate admission, readmission, or enrollment in continuing education status will be screened by the College’s Review Committee for the Admission of Ex-Offenders in accordance with the above criteria.

Review Committee membership consists of the Director of Admissions/designee, the Director of University Police/designee, the Campus Judicial Officer, a Student Development staff designee of the Vice President for Student Development, and the Dean of Graduate Studies/designee (for candidates seeking admission to graduate study). The Vice President for Student Development will designate the Committee Chair from the above membership.

In addition to requiring all prior official academic records, the Review Committee may require the candidate to provide the specifics of his/her felony convictions including background, charges filed, and date of occurrence. Candidates may be required to provide the name, address, and telephone number of their parole officer and to execute a release of all criminal records.

Recommendations from Department of Correction personnel as well as a personal campus interview may also be required.

After review of all required/available information, the Review Committee will:

  1. approve further consideration of the candidate’s application and return it to the appropriate admissions committee,
  2. approve further consideration of the candidate’s application with specific conditions placed on attendance and return it to the appropriate admissions committee, or
  3. deny further consideration of the candidate’s application for further admissions consideration.

If the candidate’s application is approved for further consideration or approved for further consideration with specific conditions placed on attendance (see item 1 and 2 above), such as limited campus access, denial of on-campus housing, etc., the appropriate campus office responsible for review of the candidate’s file will be notified to proceed with the formal admissions evaluation process. If the candidate’s application is denied further consideration by the Review Committee (see item 3 above), the appropriate campus admissions committee as well as the candidate, will be notified of that decision; no further determination of academic admissibility will be made in such instances.

Candidates denied further consideration by the Review Committee may appeal this decision directly to the Vice President for Student Development. Candidates who, at a later time, are discovered to have falsified their admissions application regarding their status as an ex-offender are subject to the rescinding of their offer of admissions and/or immediate dismissal from SUNY at Oneonta.

Questions regarding SUNY Oneonta’s Policy on the Admissions and Enrollment of Ex-Offenders or its application should be directed to the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, Netzer Administration Building, Room 121.

3rd Revision

2/04