News & Politics

Colleges Requested Not to Ask if 'Justice-Involved Individuals' Have a Criminal Record

If you’re the parent of a student just entering college, what would you say if you discovered that the school your precious little one has chosen refuses to ask an applicant if he’s been convicted of a crime?

Just the printable quotes, please.

The latest scathingly brilliant idea from the Obama administration comes from the Department of Education, which has sent one of its ubiquitous “Dear Colleague” letters to colleges and universities, requesting that administrators refrain from asking a potential student if she’s been convicted of a crime.

Pardon me. We can’t ask if they’re “criminals.” The latest in doublespeak makes someone with a criminal record a “justice-involved individual.”

It’s the “disparate impact” of it all, don’t you know. The black crime rate is higher than the white crime rate so, naturally, asking a convicted rapist who may move into the dorm room across the hall from your teenage daughter if he’s a perv is racist through and through.

Kyle Smith has some choice words to offer about this policy.

An accompanying pamphlet was called “Beyond the Box: Increasing Access to Higher Education for Justice-Involved Individuals.”

So rapists, burglars, armed robbers and drug dealers aren’t criminals anymore. These folks are simply “involved” with “justice,” according to Obamanoids.

Maybe they’re right: “Criminals” is an inherently disparaging term that leads to stigmatization and decreased access to Eugene O’Neill seminars. But don’t we need to retroactively reconfigure how we think of those unfortunate souls who found themselves pursued by harsh enforcers of restrictive behavioral norms?

When you think about it, Jack the Ripper was merely a “cutlery-involved individual” while Jeffrey Dahmer was simply a “unconventional dietary-options-involved individual.”

Colleges generally ask whether applicants have criminal records, and for excellent reason. Parents probably don’t want their eager young freshperson daughter Molly living across the hall from a rapist — I mean, sexual-justice-involved individual.

King notes that when you ask college applicants about whether they brutalized, mugged or otherwise committed outrages against their fellow human beings, the ugly specter of “disparate impact” arises. The black crime rate is higher than the white crime rate, so the “Are you a criminal?” question is bound to do injury to blacks, or so goes the reasoning.

Obama is fighting the war for criminals to get closer to you on several fronts. Last month, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, he went after landlords, threatening them with penalties if they barred criminals from living in their buildings.

In November, Obama unilaterally ordered federal agencies to strike the box asking applicants whether they had committed crimes and referred to criminals as “folks.” This would be the same president who on Oct. 25, 2010, referred to Republicans as “enemies” and suggested voters should “punish” them. Convicted rapists? They’re just “folks.”

It’s fair to argue that the criminal justice system, and society as a whole, have a strong interest in rehabilitating criminals in addition to punishing them. And Team Obama argues innocently that (the people they refuse to call) criminals deserve to get their foot in the door before the step where they are asked about their criminal history.

But this is just a step in a long-term strategy pursued by progressives, who love criminals the way little girls love Disney princesses. The goal is to sneak criminals into your apartment building or workplace or campus.

“Illegal aliens” are now “undocumented workers” or “migrants” because, we’re told, the former epithet hurts their feelings. But Orwell would better recognize the reason for the effort to obscure what is through language by calling a “criminal” a “justice-involved individual.” The purpose is to flip reality and make up, down, black, white, and dangerous criminals sound harmless.

Nothing scares an institution of higher education more than being accused of facilitating “disparate impact.”  You can bet that schools will take the Education Department letter to heart and implement a don’t ask, don’t tell policy about criminal records.

They will probably sell it as a “valuable tool of diversity.”