Extracurriculars? Check. Strong academic record? Check. Criminal or legal record? Check.

Last year, the University of Georgia cross-referenced a local sex offender list with its student body and found matches. Those who were convicted denied their criminal history on their applications and, with little background check, were accepted into the university.

The individuals were then suspended because they lied on their application, rather than because of their histories.

Trusting that everything on the application is truthful has led to serious consequences.

“They won’t trust them on their SAT scores, but they will trust them on their crime history,” said S. Daniel Carter, senior vice president of security at the University of Georgia in the school’s newspaper last year.

Before being accepted at Fairfield University, an application must be completed with the prospective students’ criminal history declared. According to Karen Pellegrino, director for admissions, Fairfield uses the Common Application, which “asks students to answer two questions – one concerning a disciplinary violation in school and the other concerning a conviction for a misdemeanor, felony or other crime.”

The University trusts the prospective students’ “yes” or “no” response as truthful as to whether or not they have ever been convicted.

If the student answers “no,” the search has ended, but if “yes” is the response, then an explanation is required.

“The student signs the application, certifying that all of the information presented is factually true and honestly presented,” said Pellegrino.

If it is discovered that a student was dishonest on his or her application, the prospective student’s admission may be revoked, she said.

To prevent such dishonesty, Fairfield recently sent out an e-mail to the community reporting the procedures for sexual harassment and discrimination.

In the event that there is a sexual harassment incident at Fairfield, psychological services and other programs such as Rape Aggression Defense are made available to the student body as tools to deal with and prevent sexual harassment cases.

“We maintain on our Web site a link to the State of Connecticut’s registered sex offender list. No one system is fool-proof, but these systems … provide a range of interventions to help us provide as safe a campus environment as is possible,” said Tom Pellegrino, associate vice president and dean of students.

There are Web sites, such as MissingKids.com and RegisteredOffendersList.org, that list all registered sex offenders in the nation. Additional tools can be made available to universities and colleges for a small fee.

Tom Vitlo ’09 said he supports the idea of universities putting more effort into cross-referencing applications.

“I think that the University cross referencing students is within legal parameters,” Vitlo said. “However, what happens when they find offenders? Target them? It’s illegal.”

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