Written by: Alexis Naucler
Community colleges are know for admitting nearly everyone who sends in an application. But when should these colleges be able to say no? According to Educational Code section 76020, California community colleges can “exclude students of filthy or vicious habits, or students suffering from contagious or infectious diseases.” It can be easy for schools to find their way around such a vague, undefined law.
Those “filthy or vicious habits” can range from robbing a store to committing murder. A clear, defined law needs to be made to determine what these habits include. Those who have committed crimes, such as rape, weapon violence, theft, homicide, or possession of illegal substances, within six months of applying for admission should be excluded to keep the campus, students, and employees safe.
“There are things that people do that could be considered shocking, something heinous, and in those instances the colleges has the right to refuse service or enrollment to anyone,” said Jim Miyashiro, RCC’s chief of police.
With criminal records in possession of community colleges, those with criminal records can be monitored or excluded; the students and employees can be informed about who is around them; and colleges can even provide rehabilitation services.
Giving community colleges access to criminal records can prevent sex offenders or those with what the district or governing board consider to be “filthy or vicious habits” from being on our campus decreases the chance of a sexual assault or any other crime from taking place.
Former ASRCC president Doug Figueroa, elected in May of 2012, sought re-election during the following spring semester, despite the district already knowing that Figueroa was a registered sex offender but decided not to tell the campus community. It wasn’t until a flier claiming Figueroa’s status was found that everyone knew.
While Figueroa followed the law by informing the district of his status and had no bad intentions, sex offenders repeat their offense at about 35 percent, so allowing a registered sex offender to hold such a position for so long could have taken a turn for the worse. Considering ASRCC held activities on campus for children, like the Bunny Hop, and Halloween Town.
The first step to resolving the issue of sexual assault is prevention. Title IX requires colleges take the necessary steps to prevent sexual assault and to respond promptly when it occurs. Unless the district keeps a close eye on any registered sex offenders, allowing them onto campus without informing the campus community may not be the best way to prevent sexual assault. Requiring background checks for students would serve the same purpose as the ones conducted for employees of the district, to keep the campus and its students safe.