Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has vetoed legislation that would have barred colleges from asking about a prospective student’s criminal history on applications. The Republican governor wrote in a letter explaining his veto of the two bills from both chambers of the state’s Legislature that he felt student safety would be jeopardized.
“This could lead to situations where a school unknowingly admits a student with a violent past or feels it must accept a student with a criminal history for fear of running afoul of the law,” Hogan wrote.
Hogan noted in his letter that the legislation did not differentiate between a felony crime -- like a sexual assault -- and a misdemeanor.
The bills did allow institutions to include a question about criminal history on applications through a third party, if the institution posted a notice on its website that criminal history does not disqualify an applicant from being admitted.
“While individuals of all criminal backgrounds should be given educational, employment and growth opportunities, colleges and universities must have the ability to know who they are accepting onto their campuses. We should not encourage schools to turn a blind eye to a prospective student’s potentially violent criminal background,” Hogan wrote.