Students are stepping up their call for the University to stop asking undergraduate admission applicants about their criminal histories, while President Eisgruber ’83 expressed reservations about such a move.
Members of Students for Prison Education and Reform (SPEAR), which has been pushing to “BAN THE BOX” from admission applications since 2012, presented their case to Eisgruber at a meeting of the Council of the Princeton University Community.
Eisgruber said he was “unlikely to eliminate the question entirely,” citing campus safety and the consideration of “values and leadership characteristics” during admissions. He suggested that SPEAR consider reformulating the question in a way that “mitigates some of the determinants that [SPEAR] referred to.”
In an op-ed in The Daily Princetonian later that week, SPEAR president Micah Herskind ’19 argued that “by keeping the box — regardless of its form — we communicate our willingness to use racist and classist data in our admissions process.”
SPEAR members said they plan to generate interest in the issue through a petition drive and campus events.
More than 50 colleges have removed the box from their applications. Beginning next summer, the question will not appear on the Common Application form.
In addition, Princeton’s Graduate School does not ask applicants about their criminal history.