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Higher Ed in the News

Push for access to students' arrest records

May 12, 2010

Colleges commonly collaborate with law-enforcement agencies whose jurisdictions border their own, but partnerships for information sharing across states or regions are rare. And police officers do not routinely verify whether a person they have arrested is a student.

Proposals to conduct regular background checks on all students raise questions about cost, labor, and the reliability of information. Studies have shown that background checks of known convicts turn up hits on only half to three-quarters of them. And in many states, juvenile records are sealed and do not turn up on such checks.

However, the death last week of Yeardley Love, a University of Virginia student, and the arrest on murder charges of a fellow student, has prompted the president of the university to call for regular screening of all students against a state law-enforcement database, as well as a push for notifications of any student's arrest.

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