Yesterday, I reported that the University of Washington is adding questions about criminal records to its student application forms. Later that day, the university removed the questions from its Online Degree application, the one where the questions had already been rolled out.

In a letter to Huskies for Fairness, a group opposed to asking applicants about their criminal histories, UW Provost Ana Mari Cauce said the question was included in the application "in error, without my knowledge. As you rightly point out, we [are] not yet ready for implementation."

UW is still developing the policy and intends to ask applicants about their violent felony and sex offender records beginning next year (fall 2014), she told me today by e-mail.

I wrote yesterday that Washington State University asks similar criminal history questions of its applicants. In fact, WSU does not ask about criminal history at all, Cauce pointed out. I've corrected the post. This would seem to bolster the argument against criminal history questions.

She says many other colleges ask broader questions about past behavior, including criminal misdemeanors and school suspensions. That's unlikely to persuade critics, though, who say there's no evidence that ex-convicts pose a significant public safety threat to the campus.

Cauce explains which colleges ask more expansive questions below the jump.

The “common application” which is used by Seattle U, Seattle Pacific University, Pacific Lutheran, University of Puget Sound, Whitman and Whitworth, and by pubic universities such as Michigan, Virgina, University of North Carolina, Ohio State, etc., and by Historically Black Colleges such as Morehouse, Spelman, Fish, and Howard, asks,

“Have you ever been found responsible for a disciplinary violation at any educational institution you have attended from the 9th grade (or the international equivalent) forward, whether related to academic misconduct or behavioral misconduct, that resulted in a disciplinary action? These actions could include, but are not limited to: Probation, suspension, removal, dismissal, or expulsion from the institution.” Yes/No

“Have you ever been adjudicated guilty or convicted of a misdemeanor, felony or other crime?” Yes/No

By comparison, our question is quite narrow.