Correction 7/19/13: A previous online version of this story erroneously stated that the UW had been consulting Washington State University about this policy. In fact, it was Western Washington University that had been asking about criminal history on applications since 2007 and had been providing guidance to UW.
Prospective students will now be asked about their criminal past; specifically, if they’ve been convicted of sex crimes or violent felonies. UW Provost Ana Marie Cauce says it’s a safety issue. Cauce says protecting students and campus visitors is a priority.
The University of Washington is a respected institution of higher learning, serving more than 92,000 students on campuses in Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma. But it didn’t quite start out this way; in its first 25 years, the school went broke and even shut down for a brief time. It barely had enough students and faculty to fill a large room.