Purpose and Scope
The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) is committed to facilitating a safe environment conducive to academic learning. To assist in maintaining a safe environment for all students, faculty and staff and pursuant to Colorado Senate Bill 19-170 (the Ensuring Access to Higher Education Act) as codified in C.R.S. § 23-5-106.5, CU Boulder has implemented the following as a pilot process and procedure for the collection and consideration of previous or pending disciplinary and criminal history for applicants and admitted applicants for the spring, summer or fall 2020 semesters for the purposes of student admission and participation in campus life.
For the purposes of this process and procedure, the following terms are defined as follows:
- Academic Performance – behavior that could affect academic standing at an institution including academic integrity violations such as plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, lying, bribery, unauthorized access to academic materials, resubmission, or aiding academic dishonesty
- Adjudicated guilty – a guilty verdict, an accepted guilty plea or an accepted Nolo Contendere (No Contest) plea and does not include a plea to a deferred judgement or sentence, unless or until revoked
- Admitted applicant – a person who has been offered admission, whether full-time or part-time, to an undergraduate, graduate, professional, non-degree or non-credit program at CU Boulder
- Applicant – a person who has submitted an application as defined herein
- Application – an application for student admission as an undergraduate, graduate, professional, non-degree or noncredit program at CU Boulder
- Law enforcement report – the records of a law enforcement agency documenting an incident, arrest, or crime that typically include information about the date, nature, and persons involved in the underlying matter
- Campus life – on-campus housing and/or any other campus-sponsored activity or program outside of academic coursework
- Charges or Charged – the commencement of prosecution by the filing of an indictment or presentment, the issuing of a warrant which is binding over the offender, or by the filing of information
- Conditional admission – an offer of admission contingent upon an the admitted applicant’s participation in responsive actions
- Conduct or Conduct History – disciplinary history and/or criminal history
- Conduct Review Committee (CRC) – a CU Boulder standing committee co-chaired by the Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution and the Assistant Vice Chancellor of the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, or their designees, and comprised of cross-campus representatives from the CU Boulder Police Department (CUPD), the Department of Housing and Dining Services, the Division of Continuing Education, the Graduate School, New Student and Family Programs, the Office of Admissions, Student Support and Case Management, and Veteran and Military Affairs, with representatives from the Office of University Counsel and Risk Management available as consultants
- Confirmed Applicant – a person who has been admitted to CU Boulder and has notified the university that they intend to enroll by paying a confirmation deposit
- Conviction – a guilty verdict, a guilty plea or a Nolo Contendere (No Contest) plea and not including a plea to a deferred judgement and sentence unless and until revoked
- Criminal History – any pending criminal charges or being adjudicated guilty or convicted of a misdemeanor or felony
- Disciplinary History – any pending allegation or prior incident of being found responsible for a disciplinary violation at an educational institution
- Eligible to Enroll – after the CRC completes their pre-admission review, they may determine that the applicant is eligible for admission and ultimately may enroll at CU Boulder either with or without further responsive actions
- Enrolled Student – a person who is actively enrolled and attending academic courses at CU Boulder
- Pre-admission – occurs once an applicant has submitted an application but before an offer of admission by the university has been made
- Post-admission – occurs after an offer of admission by the university has been made
- Responsive Action: Possible requirements determined by the Conduct Review Committee (CRC) which may include meeting with staff from the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution or the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, training or educational participation, drug, alcohol, forensic or other evaluation, and/or regulation of court compliance.
- Student – a person who is enrolled, has confirmed their intent to enroll or is designated as active and able to enroll in courses at CU Boulder, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, professional, non-degree, or non-credit studies
Process and Procedure
- Application: Pursuant to C.R.S. § 23-5-106.5(3), CU Boulder will inquire about the following conduct on the application for student admission[i]:
- An applicant’s prior convictions for stalking, sexual assault, and domestic violence
- An applicant’s prior convictions, within five years before submitting the application, for assault, kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter, or murder
- An application prior disciplinary history at another academic institution for stalking, sexual assault, and domestic violence
- Any criminal charges pending against the applicant
- An applicant’s education records related to academic performance
To the extent that CU Boulder uses a form of application that may also be used to apply for admission to any other institution of higher education, such as the Common Application, CU Boulder shall not consider any information the applicant provides in response to criminal or disciplinary history questions on such application that exceeds the conduct listed above.
- Participation in Campus Life: After admission, pursuant to C.R.S. § 23-5-106.5(7), CU Boulder will inquire into an admitted applicant’s conduct history when obtaining information pertaining to participation in campus life.[ii]
- Conduct Questions: The CRC is responsible for drafting and updating, if needed, the conduct questions to be included on the application. The CRC is also responsible for drafting and updating the post-admission conduct questions for the purposes of student participation in campus life.
Notice to Applicants on the Application
In compliance with C.R.S. § 23-5-106.5(2)(b), CU Boulder will notify applicants on the application that the applicant is not required to disclose any information contained in sealed records and has the right to appeal, pursuant to the below procedures, a denial decision made based on any information required to be disclosed.CU Boulder will also notify the applicant that there is a post-admission process that will further inquire about conduct.
Review and Determination Procedures
- Admissions Unit Academic Admissibility Determination: Prior to any consideration of criminal or disciplinary conduct, the application will first be reviewed by the admissions unit to determine if the applicant is academically eligible for admission. If academically eligible, the application will then go through the conduct review process as provided below.
- Pre-Admission Affirmative Responses to Application Inquiries: If an applicant responds "yes" to any of the conduct questions on the application for admission, the following steps will be taken:
a. Supplemental Information: If not already included in the application, the respective admissions unit in which applicant is applying for admission (Office of Admissions, Graduate School, or Division of Continuing Education) will send the applicant notification that they are required to provide a factual explanation regarding the underlying incident(s) in question (for both disciplinary and criminal history responses) and any relevant documentation, including the law enforcement report(s) and/or court record reflecting the conviction (for criminal history responses only) and any other information the applicant would like considered. For disciplinary history responses, the committee may request a document from the institution detailing factual findings, sanctions and the specific policies violated. The committee may also request additional information and/or verify information through third parties such as school counselors or other school officials, probation officers, law enforcement agencies, etc. For information pertaining to criminal history information, a form, titled Criminal History Supplement Form, will be used for this purpose (“Supplemental Form”). In many cases, the Supplemental Form is included in the application for admission. For applicants applying using the Common Application, the Supplemental Form will be provided to the applicant from the respective office they are applying to for admission.
b. Applicant Responsibilities: The applicant must provide adequate and responsive information to the CRC in a timely manner, as requested by the CRC. Failure to do so may jeopardize eligibility for admission.
c. Admissions Unit Preliminary Procedural Review: A representative from the respective admissions unit will initially review the applicant's completed information, including the Supplemental Form and law enforcement reports, if applicable.
- If the respective admissions unit representative determines that the applicant answered “yes” in error by providing conduct information other than what was requested on the application, the unit may determine the applicant as eligible to enroll and the appropriate admission decision will be posted.
- If the unit representative does not determine that the applicant answered “yes” in error, then the unit representative will forward the applicants full response, Supplemental Form, law enforcement reports, and/or any other documentation provided by the applicant to the co-chairs of the CRC for review.
- CRC Review and Determination: The co-chairs will provide the submitted materials to the CRC for review. The CRC will consider:
- The nature and gravity of any conduct;
- The time that has passed since the occurrence of any conduct;
- The age of the applicant at the time of the conduct; and
- Any evidence of rehabilitation or good conduct produced by the applicant.
If the CRC finds by a preponderance of the of the totality of this information that the applicant's conduct poses an unreasonable risk to the safety or security of the campus community, the CRC will determine that the applicant is not eligible to enroll and CU Boulder will not offer admission to the applicant. If the CRC determines the applicant is eligible to enroll, the CRC may condition continued eligibility upon the applicant's compliance with responsive action specified by the CRC.
- Notification of Determination:
- Not Eligible to Enroll: If the CRC determines that the applicant is not eligible to enroll, the respective admissions unit will send notification to the applicant and the application will be withdrawn from consideration.
- Eligible to Enroll: If the CRC determines that the applicant is eligible to enroll, the respective admissions unit will update the applicant's admission application with the appropriate admission decision.
- Conditional admission: If the CRC determines that the applicant’s eligibility to enroll is conditional based on the applicant’s compliance with responsive action specified by the CRC, the respective admissions unit will update the admission application with the appropriate admission decision and will send the appropriate notification to the applicant.
f. Timeline: The conduct review process will be completed within a reasonable period of time and may generally take 2-4 weeks following the CRC receiving all necessary supplemental information. This timeline may be extended if additional information is pending from the applicant or third parties such as probations officers, law enforcement agencies, etc. or in other circumstance of good cause as determined by CU Boulder. If the timeline is extended, applicants will be notified by the CRC of the updated timeline for review.
3. Post-Admission Affirmative Responses: After CU Boulder has made an offer of admission, a Post-Admission Conduct form containing additional conduct history questions will be posted to the admitted applicant’s Application Status Page. CU Boulder will also provide notice that the admitted applicant is not required to disclose any information contained in sealed records and has the right to appeal pursuant to the below procedures based on any information required to be disclosed. If an admitted applicant responds "yes" to any of the post-admission conduct questions, the following steps will be taken:
a. Post Admission Conduct Form and Supplemental Information: Within a few days after admission, a Post Admission Conduct Form will be posted to the admitted applicant’s application status page. In this form, the admitted applicant is required to provide an explanation regarding the incident(s) in question (for both disciplinary and criminal history responses), law enforcement report(s) and/or court record of final disposition such as a record for conviction (for criminal history responses only) and any other information the admitted applicant would like considered such as the agency of record documents and related court documents. For disciplinary history responses, the committee may request a document from the institution detailing factual findings, sanctions and the specific policies violated. The committee may also request additional information and/or verify information through third parties such as school counselors or other school officials, probation officers, law enforcement agencies, etc.
b. Admitted Applicant Responsibilities: The admitted applicant must provide adequate and responsive information to CU Boulder in a timely manner in the forms provided, or as otherwise requested by CU Boulder staff. Failure to do so may jeopardize eligibility for participation in campus life.
c. Admissions Unit Preliminary Procedural Review: A representative from the respective admissions unit will initially review the admitted applicant’s submitted information, including the Post Admission Conduct Form, arrest reports and related court documents, if applicable.
i. If the unit representative determines that the admitted applicant answered “yes” in error by providing conduct information other than that what was requested, the unit may determine no further review is needed and will send notification to the admitted applicant.
ii. If the unit representative determines that the nature of the crime(s) or offense(s) warrant a further review, then the unit representative will forward the admitted applicants full response, Post-Admission Conduct Form, law enforcement report, related court documents and/or any other documentation provided by the admitted applicant to the co-chairs of the CRC for review.
d. Background check (for criminal history responses only): If the admitted applicant answers “yes” to one of the criminal history questions and the unit representative believes that the nature of the crime(s) or offense(s) warrant a further review, then the unit representative will notify the admitted applicant their record will be referred for further review. They will also inform the admitted applicant that they will be required to undergo a background check and send an additional email with information on how to consent to the background check through CU Boulder’s process, which may include a third party vendor, such as Background Information Services, Inc. (BISI). Once the admitted applicant submits the background check consent form to BISI, the unit representative or CRC co-chairs will contact the CU Boulder Police Department (CUPD) and provide the Post-Admission Conduct Form and any associated agency record documents already received. CUPD will work with BISI to conduct a background check into the admitted applicant’s relevant history.
- Background Check Results (for criminal history responses only): If the background check identifies additional responsive information to the conduct history questions posed that should have been but was not previously disclosed by an applicant at the pre-admission application or by an admitted applicant post-admission stage, then any or all of the following may occur:
- CUPD and/or the CRC may communicate with law enforcement agencies, probation officers or other appropriate third parties to obtain further information.
- The CRC may contact the applicant or admitted applicant to request an additional explanation or an interview may be conducted.
- The applicant or admitted applicant may be subject to an allegation of violation of the Student Conduct Code through the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.
- CRC Review and Determination: Once all information is received, the co-chairs will provide the relevant materials to the CRC for review. The CRC will consider:
- The nature and gravity of any criminal conduct and whether it bears a direct relationship to a particular aspect of an admitted applicant’s participation in campus life, including, but not limited to residency on campus and campus activities;
- The time that has passed since the occurrence of any criminal conduct;
- The age of the admitted applicant at the time of the conduct underlying a criminal conviction;
- Any evidence of rehabilitation or good conduct produced by the admitted applicant; and
- The benefit to the admitted applicant of participating in campus life.
If the CRC finds by a preponderance of the totality of this information that the admitted applicant's conduct including but not limited to registered sex offender status, poses an unreasonable risk to the safety or security of others in the campus community, the CRC prohibit participation in campus life or may condition eligibility for participation in campus life upon the admitted applicant's compliance with responsive action specified by the CRC.
- Notification of Determination: The CRC will notify the admitted applicant of the result of the review and any responsive action required.
- Timeline for Review: The conduct review process may generally take 2-4 weeks to complete once all required supplemental information has been received. This timeline may be extended if additional information is requested either from the admitted applicant or from third parties such as school counselors or other school officials, probations officers, law enforcement agencies, etc. or in other circumstance of good cause as determined by CU Boulder. If the timeline is extended, applicants will be notified by the CRC of the updated timeline for review.
- Registered Sex Offenders: If at any time it comes to the attention of the CRC that an admitted applicant is a registered sex offender, the CRC shall determine whether the admitted applicant is eligible to reside in university housing and/or condition eligibility for participation in campus life upon the admitted applicant’s compliance with responsive action specified by the CRC. Such decisions will be communicated to the admitted applicant. If an admitted sex offender is allowed to reside on campus, they must comply with any and all registration requirements per state law, in addition to registering with CUPD.
- MBA Certificate Applicants: since applicants who apply for the MBA certificate program apply, are admitted and enroll all in a single step, these applicants will be asked to respond to all conduct questions, including the post-admissions conduct questions, on their application for admission. Each set of questions will be reviewed using the guidelines above.
Obligation to Update Responses Prior to Start of Enrollment
The procedures above also apply to all applicants, admitted applicants and confirmed students whose previously reported criminal or disciplinary history changes before the start of their first term of attendance. These students are required to immediately notify their respective admissions unit of the changes and submit the required documentation.For changes to responses to questions on the application, the CRC shall decide to whether revocation of admission or other responsive action is appropriate based on the criteria above. For changes to responses to questions regarding campus life participation, the CRC shall determine to what extent eligibility is impacted and any responsive action is required. The CRC's decision will be communicated in writing to the student.In addition, failure to report changes that should have been disclosed may result in an allegation of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct through the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.
- Scope and Grounds: An applicant or admitted applicant may appeal a CRC determination to not admit, to admit with conditions, or to require responsive actions, resulting from a CRC review of criminal and/or disciplinary history. Such appeal must be based on one or both of the following grounds:
- The established procedures were not followed in a significant way, and, as a result, the CRC’s decision resulted in a material error to deny admission.
- The determination did not appropriately consider material information based on the nature, circumstances, gravity, elapsed time, age of applicant at the time of underlying conduct, and/or evidence of rehabilitation, as it relates to the criminal and/or disciplinary history.
- Request Submission: To request an appeal, the applicant must submit a request to firstname.lastname@example.org within 30 calendar days of the date of the original decision, stating the grounds for the appeal pursuant to above, the resulting action requested, and any and all supporting information for the request. This request will be sent to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, or designee, and the Associate Vice Chancellor for the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance and Deputy Title IX Coordinator, or designee (Appeal Officers).
- Review and Determination: If the applicant submits an appeal form in accordance with time and format requirements herein, the Appeal Officers shall confirm whether there is applicable grounds for an appeal. If either or both grounds apply, the Appeal Officers will review the appeal and make a determination. The appeal decision shall be based on the record of documents provided by the applicant and the CRC. All new information requested by the applicant or admitted applicant to be considered must be submitted by the applicant or admitted applicant with the applicant’s appeal submission. Failure to provide adequate and timely information may result in denial of an appeal request. The Appeal Officers can consult with appropriate campus administrators including but not limited to the co-chairs of the CRC.
- Resulting Actions: The Appeal Officers may take any of the following actions:
- Affirm the initial decision to deny admission, to conditionally admit, or affirm the responsive actions imposed by the CRC
- Reverse the decision made by the CRC and grant admission with no restrictions
- Reverse the decision made by the CRC and grant admission with conditional admission or responsive actions
- Modify the terms of the conditional admission and/or responsive actions set by the CRC
No Limitation on Existing Authority
Nothing herein is intended to, nor shall it, limit CU Boulder from taking responsive action on any criminal or disciplinary conduct that is authorized by law to be disclosed, including but not limited to FERPA, that CU Boulder receives by any means, including but not limited to the applicant’s transcript from previous institutions. If such information references conduct other than the conduct requested to be disclosed in response to the questions authorized on the admission’s application, CU Boulder’s responsive action will not include student admission denial or revocation.
Office of Admissions
Origional Effective Date:
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Revised Effective Date:
August 1, 2019
This Procedure replaces the following prior procedure: Admissions Procedure for Applicants with Criminal History (Effective Date Thursday, June 25, 2015)
[i] There are exceptions. Such inquiries will not be made regarding participants in the “Inside Out Prison Exchange Program” offered through the Division of Continuing Education that began in Spring 2017 and the online Masters of Science in Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering program offered through the Graduate School that began in Fall 2019.
[ii] The same exception as noted in i. applies here.