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ERIC Number: EJ1180651
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0161-827X
Criminal Background Checks in University Housing: An Analysis of Housing Discrimination and State Laws
Custer, Bradley D.
Journal of College and University Student Housing, v44 n3 p14-29 2018
Colleges and universities commonly review the criminal history of students who apply to live in campus housing, but this practice may be inherently discriminatory. New guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development warns that the Fair Housing act, which applies to higher education institutions, prohibits the use of any practice that unnecessarily results in discriminatory effects for people from protected classes. Because the U.S. criminal justice system disproportionately affects people of color, the use of criminal background checks in housing could violate the Fair Housing act. This paper presents an analysis of the new guidance in the higher education context and offers a critical perspective on the use of criminal background checks in campus housing. In addition, a review of state laws and university system policies found that a small number prohibits certain offenders from living on campus, which complicates implementation of the federal Fair Housing Act. For campus housing officers, recommendations for defending against housing discrimination lawsuits and for reconsidering the use of criminal history in campus housing are presented. [Discussion questions developed by Amelia King-Kostelac.]
Association of College and University Housing Officers - International. 941 Chatham Lane Suite 318, Columbus, OH 43221. Tel: 614-292-0099; Fax: 614-292-3205; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Tests/Questionnaires; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas; South Carolina; Tennessee; South Dakota; Nebraska; New York; Alaska; Louisiana; Nevada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A