By Angela Wolfe
A change in Tri-C’s admission policy adopted June 25 by the Board of Trustees would prohibit some sex offenders from attending the college.
The Board adopted the Student Sexual Offense and Child Victim Admissions Reporting Policy in the wake of several stories in The Voice student newspaper about sex offenders on campus and an allegation of sexual misconduct that occurred on the Metro Campus involving a high school student enrolled at the college.
Following the meeting, College President Alex Johnson said, “The policy is the foundation, and it’s important that we have the Board to acknowledge that.
In the resolution prepared by Renée Richard, Vice President of legal services, it states, “The primary goal of the Student Sexual Offense and Child Victim Offense Admission and Reporting Policy is to require all current, returning and prospective students, whether credit or non-credit, who have been declared sex offenders under any state law, including child victim offender’s, within the past 15 years to self-report such offenses to the college upon application for admission, registration for classes (initial and continuing) or re-enrollment in the college.”
“Blanket policies are never good,” said Gary Larkin, Coordinator of Case Manager Services at Towards Employment, an ex-offender reentry assistance program. However he went on to say, “There is obviously a problem with sex offenders not reporting Tri-C as their school, otherwise, the policy that was just implemented would not have occurred, so, the Tri-C sex offender self-report policy is fair.”
The administration is standing on the rights they reserve to deny, defer, or place conditions upon admissions and or registration based on the nature and circumstance of the crime. Under this autonomy, the policy states, “Applicants with violent sexual offense convictions as designated by the tier status of the offender, and Child-Victim Offenders will not be admitted. “
Lt. Ronald Wynne, Campus Police Officer who has been involved with investigating student sex offenders feels it is a good policy. “It’s very important and it’s going to benefit the entire college community,” he said. ”Especially with the College Credit Plus Program that allows 8th and 9th grade students on our campuses.”
Isaiah Hunt, Student Ambassador at the Eastern Campus, said the college did the right thing in approving the policy. “The college took the right steps to protect our student body, mainly our minor students. So far they’ve only experienced school with peers of their own age and being around this many unsupervised adults is new to them,” he said.
In a statement provided by John Horton, Media Relations Manager, it was explained that “The procedure is being developed and will be uploaded to the website later this semester. Full implementation is expected to be in effect commencing with Spring 2016.”
The Statement also said that the following steps were taken in connection with Fall 2015 registration and are being codified into the new procedure:
“Students in Banner were cross-referenced against the County’s Sex Offender’s register. (This will not be an ongoing occurrence, as the policy requires self-reporting.)
The enrollment application was modified to prompt the student to answer the following question: Have you ever been convicted of sexually related felony?
The enrollment application will be modified in the upcoming weeks to ask the additional question: Are you required to register as a sexual offender?”
The Voice will continue to cover this story as more details about the processes and procedures to ensure sex offenders are reporting becomes available.