TU Ban the Box: A Fair Chance For All

If you’re a Tulane student, you may have seen a link floating around Facebook to a petition titled “TU Ban the Box.” For those that may not know exactly what this petition aims to do, its main goal is to change Tulane’s application and prevent it from asking applicants about prior felony convictions. At first glance, it is normal for students to disagree with the petition. It is perfectly logical to think that former felons should be required to disclose this information as a safety precaution on campus. However, statistics show that colleges and universities that have banned the box have had no increase in crime rates. In fact, Louisiana state law does not require college applicants to disclose their criminal history. All public universities in the state have banned the box and it is time for Tulane University, a private institution, to do the same.

There is an extremely large stigma against formerly incarcerated people due to the fact that there is a lack of education about true statistics of crime. While the general population tends to believe that violent crime is rampant and we are constantly in danger, crime rates have actually decreased significantly in recent years. The media plays a huge role in the public’s perception of crime in our nation, but people tend to forget that the goal of the media is not to tell the truth, but to make a profit. Fear has become a form of entertainment in today’s society, and the media constantly exploits people’s vulnerabilities to pursue their own interests. As a result, formerly incarcerated people are dehumanized and treated unfairly when they are released into society. The large majority of former convicts are non-violent, and many hope to rehabilitate themselves and become contributing members of society. However, the horrifying image that the media portrays of these people prevents them from receiving beneficial opportunities and further promotes a cycle of reoffending.

The problem with college applicants needing to disclose this information is that many admissions committees will not bother to even finish looking at an application once they see that the person has been convicted. This encourages the unjust treatment experienced regularly by formerly incarcerated people and prevents the advancement of society as a whole. Applying to college is an enormous step in trying to make a change and better one’s self. We should embrace this effort and encourage these people to improve their lives for the better instead of rejecting them solely based on their past.

If you think Tulane should ban the box, sign the petition here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdxQrd1FfUzvD4a98y9jT_PCqdJR82gbmwOmE6ft0xgMOlzNQ/viewform