Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Education Approval for Felons


     I have recently encountered an odd request from Oklahoma State University.  Completion of a process known as admissions clearance.  It is a process of the Student Conduct Department to review any felony you have had in your lifetime. The department asks for quite a bit of information. If you are recently released you might possibly expect a request of this information.  The following is information from Oklahoma State Universities website.  

  • In cases of felony: A copy of the police affidavit, pre-sentence investigation report and final adjudication for all criminal charges. These are most often public court records that the applicant can obtain from his/her attorney or the Clerk of the Court.
  • In cases of felony: Complete the Previous Felony Admission Clearance Form.
  • A detailed written explanation describing the nature and specifics of the situation, and a narrative about the your status in relation to the situation at issue. This is your opportunity to tell us what happened in your own words, and explain what the status of this situation is now (e.g. are you on probation or parole, is the suspension current or expired, etc.).
  • A written description of any treatment, education or work experience you have had since the situation at issue, and documentation of all treatment and education.
  • At least one letter of reference from a professional source who has had frequent contact with you in the past three to six months (e.g., professor, supervisor, etc.). References from family members and friends do not qualify. (https://studentconduct.okstate.edu/clearance) 2019
     I have submitted what information I could obtain.  My felony is 10+ years old and non-violent.  I have held jobs of trust since I have been out of prison, so perhaps "Felon" is not the appropriate label the University should be looking to screen. I wonder if "registered Sex Offender or Violent Felony" would be a more appropriate screening process?  In addition is a Felony from 10 years ago with no subsequent felonies relevant?  I wonder if there should be a time limit?  The label felon is truly a lifetime sentence, not only in employment, but education as well. 

     I suppose since we have covered what the university asks we should also discuss the possible outcomes after a "Felon" submits this information for review. The following is from the Oklahoma State Universities website as well. 

Following a review of the submitted documentation, SCEA may conduct a criminal background check, schedule an interview, speak to probation and parole officers or Student Conduct officers, and undertake other action designed to illicit more information about the applicant and the situation at issue.
Following the completion of the review, Student Conduct will issue one of three results:
  • The applicant is denied admission clearance and the application will not be considered further. The applicant may appeal this decision.
  • The applicant is granted outright admission clearance. The application will then be considered by Undergraduate Admission or the Graduate College for a final determination on the student's application, based on normal academic criteria.
  • The applicant is granted provisional clearance with conditions. The most common conditions of admission in these situations are conduct probation and a determination that the applicant not be permitted to reside in on-campus housing, though conditions are often specifically tailored to the applicant and the presenting situation. The application will then be considered by Undergraduate Admission or the Graduate College for a final determination on the student's application, based on normal academic criteria. If the student is admitted and chooses to enroll, they will be required to comply with all conditions specified.
Honesty During the Application Process
Be honest. Having a felony, suspension or expulsion on your record will not automatically disqualify an applicant from consideration. However, submission of false information or withholding information at the time of application or admission or dishonesty with OSU staff may make an individual ineligible for admission to Oklahoma State University.
(https://studentconduct.okstate.edu/clearance) 2019
     I want to be completely clear that  I have never encountered this at Rose State College or Oklahoma City Community College.  If this was about a public safety issue it would be directed toward sex and violent offenses.  I will post an update what the outcome is. I did try to submit reference letters while in their office.  However the receptionist let me know the letter from their staff and one from alumni was not good enough because I obtained them 9 months ago when I left my last job.  In my previous job I had a lot of contact with university staff, students, and parents. I am obtaining a letter from the Case Manger for the Non-Profit where I serve as a Board of Directors member for Payne County, Let us also be clear this is not a private college. 
     What have I done in 10 years with a white collar felony?  I have been the General Manager of 2 Restaurants, Assistant General Manager of another, and a Legal Assistant in a law office, All of these jobs are in positions of trust, either dealing with money or sensitive information. Guess what everything went fine, you cannot judge me from pieces of paper, you have to talk to me for that.  It is nice all these years later,  I can call up Rozia (The AUSA who prosecuted me 2 times)  and laugh, visit, and talk about what happened and what has happened since.  Rozia is a really great lady. I have no resentment for her, only the greatest respect. 
I honestly do not think a past felony should be a reason to deny a person an education.  It is important for ex-offenders to establish community bonds, a belief in the system, and believe they have the means to succeed.  Education can only reduce the recidivism problem and unfortunately I believe this is simply a way to continue a rehabilitated persons sentence.  It serves to diminish a belief in the system for  persons that have a decade behind them.  At some point a person wonders "When is this over? , When will I be free?" I am "Shad M Hagan", not "Felon"  I am involved in my community, when do we stop requiring people to prove themselves over and over again? 
"Felon" or "Shad Hagan"

Source: Oklahoma State University Website

Oklahoma State University Website 2019

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