The Justice Impact Movement, an initiative associated with the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project that focuses on eliminating barriers to education for formerly incarcerated people, and the Yale College Council are calling on Yale admissions to ban questions about an applicant’s criminal record, reports the Yale Daily News. Ban the Box is a national campaign that seeks to reduce the collection of criminal justice information in applications for jobs and universities. It will do so by removing the “box” that formerly incarcerated people must check to indicate that they have been convicted of a crime. During the 2019-2020 admissions cycle, the Common Application permanently removed its criminal history question. However, Yale still includes a criminal history question in the Yale-specific section of the Common Application.
A report drafted by a task force composed of YCC Senators and JIM members has recommended collecting criminal justice information only after students have accepted their offers of admission, limiting inquiries about criminal history to specific offenses like stalking or sexual assault and “re-evaluating how and in what contexts criminal justice information is used.” Melat Eskender, a Morse College senator and member of the task force, emphasized the racially disproportionate effect of collecting criminal justice information. “This issue is important to me because, as a Black woman, I know intimately how my community is over-policed and disproportionately incarcerated,” Eskender said. “Racial inequality is so pervasive in the criminal justice system that it is impossible for the inquiry and usage of criminal justice information in college applications to be a race-neutral practice.”