Lake Michigan College has recently announced that a student who had been expelled because his name was listed on the Michigan sex registry will be allowed to stay on campus. Another student who had also been expelled was reinstated last year. The change in policy comes as the result of legal action brought by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging LMC’s policy barred students who had been convicted of sex crimes involving children from attending their classes. At the time, three students were identified as having been convicted of sex crimes with children and faced expulsion.
The policy drew significant criticism due to its blanket approach and the fact that it singled-out individuals without regard to the specific nature of the crime or an evaluation of the surrounding circumstances.
The policy was revised in June to include all sex offenders and those individuals convicted of felonies from attending classes on campus. However, it was amended to provide an opportunity for students to request a hearing to review their individual cases.
Although the new policy still requires individuals go through hoops, a representative notes, “It’s a … more reasoned and appropriate approach to dealing with student who have any criminal background, including sex offenses and other crimes.” An ACLU representative adds, “We support out colleges and universities in their efforts to screen out students who may pose a threat…However, a blanket ban that doesn’t take into account a student’s risk level, age of the offense and rehabilitation efforts is unfair and illegal.”
As a Michigan sex crimes defense attorney, I agree. Far too often those individuals names listed on the sex crimes registry have been included for crimes that may be “victimless,” such as a Romeo & Juliet relationships, and have long since satisfied any legal penalties. Continuing to punish individuals who are trying to improve their lives with a blanket denial of admission helps no one.
Allowing individual hearings on sex crimes matters is a step in the right direction.
For more information, or if you have been charged with a Michigan sex crime, please contact the dedicated Michigan sex crimes defense lawyers at Grabel & Associates for a confidential consultation.