Cornell Employee Assembly Announces University’s Intention to ‘Ban the Box’


The Employee Assembly announced at an April 20 meeting that the University plans to instate a policy that would remove questions about an applicant’s criminal history from job applications. (Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor)


This story was first published on April 20 here.

Associate Vice President of Human Resources Allan Bishop has informed the Employee Assembly that the University plans to implement a ‘ban the box’ policy — which would remove questions about an applicant’s conviction history on preliminary job applications — by July 1, according to E.A. Executive Vice Chair Tanya Grove.

Grove shared Bishop’s announcement at the E.A.’s ad hoc meeting on April 20, saying that although not all details have been decided, Cornell expected to advance the policy barring significant complications.

At the meeting, the E.A. also voted unanimously to pass a resolution in support of banning the box, which was previously postponed because it had not been sponsored within the body.

Although the resolution retained most of its original text, the E.A. modified language to reflect the University’s confirmation of its willingness to adopt the ‘ban the box’ policy.

Garrison Lovely ’16, president of Cornell Prison Reform and Education Project, said he was “thrilled” with the University’s decision to pursue this initiative.

“I met with Allan Bishop in the fall and he was open to ‘ban the box,’ but there were no concrete plans,” Lovely said. “This represents a huge step forward toward ensuring that Cornell is a fair chance employer going into the 2016 academic year.”

The City of Ithaca recently removed the conviction question from job applications for governmental positions, and New York City legislation stipulates that employers inquire about criminal convictions only after they have extended a conditional offer of employment, according to the E.A. resolution.

The resolution added that the University has already implemented these fair chance employment policies for its New York City campuses.

Tompkins County Legislature also joined the City of Ithaca and Cornell University when it unanimously voted on July 5 to “ban the box” applications for most county jobs.

Lovely said he hopes the University’s resolution will influence hiring practices beyond Cornell’s campus and help the initiative spread throughout Tompkins County.

“As the largest employer in Ithaca and Tompkins County, this should be able to have strong impact on how other employers in Tompkins County receive calls to ban their boxes,” Lovely said.

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