Policies of Colorado State University

University Policy

University Seal
Policy Title: Consideration of Disciplinary or Criminal History of Applicants and Students Category: Admissions and Enrollment
Owner: University President Policy ID#: 10-8004-001
Student Resolution Center
Web: https://resolutioncenter.colostate.edu/
Email: SRCenter@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-7165
Original Effective Date: 9/22/2015
Last Revision: 6/22/2021


The purpose of this policy is to protect students and the university community where admission of an applicant with a prior history of criminal behavior or disciplinary action for conduct may endanger the health, safety or welfare of others or interfere with the educational environment and mission of the University. This policy also addresses the use of criminal or disciplinary history with respect to post-admission participation in Campus Life and University Housing (see definitions below).


This policy applies to all persons seeking admission to the University and all applicant types, degree-seeking and non-degree-seeking.


Applicant: Any prospective student who has applied for admission to the University but has not yet been offered or accepted an offer of admission.

Admitted Student: All students admitted as new or transfer, including all student levels of Self-Improvement, Undergraduate, Graduate and Professional, and including students who have reenrolled, online students, interns, or any other student attending the University (except for Concurrent Enrollment while in high school).

Campus Life means any University-sponsored activity, event or program, and any presence on University property, other than regular academic classes, in which an Admitted Student may attend or participate. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Intercollegiate, recreational, or club sports
  • Membership in a Registered Student Organization or club
  • Fraternity or Sorority Life

University Housing means any residential facility owned, acquired, or controlled by Colorado State University for the use of students, including, but not limited to, residence halls and apartments.


Colorado State University is committed to protecting the safety of students, employees, visitors, and all others who interact with the University. In order to promote this safety, and to the extent permitted by law, Colorado State University reserves the right to deny or place conditions on (i) admission, continued enrollment, or re-enrollment of Applicants and (ii) participation in Campus Life. and use of University Housing by Admitted Students whose personal history and background, including their criminal or disciplinary record, indicates that their presence at Colorado State may endanger the health, safety, welfare, or property of members of the academic community or interfere with the orderly and effective performance of the University's functions. Applicants to the University will be required to disclose information concerning certain prior and pending disciplinary and criminal history instances on the application for enrollment and Admitted Students must also make certain disclosures relating to such history. Representatives of the University shall identify and review all matters pertaining to such Applicants and Admitted Students. As set forth below, fair procedure will be followed in determining whether to approve or admit the applicant based on the information or place restrictions or conditions on an Admitted Student’s participation in Campus Life.


A.  Consideration of Criminal and Disciplinary History in Admissions Decisions

  1. The following questions, notes, and explanations will appear on all Colorado State University application forms for admission.

    CSU is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment that fosters student success, and our review of non-academic conduct is one component (as authorized by C.R.S. § 23-5-106.5). Applicants who answer “Yes” to one or more of the conduct questions below receive confidential review outside of the admission decision process. Past non-academic conduct incidents do not automatically disqualify an applicant from full consideration for admission and scholarships, and applicants have the right to appeal a decision made based on any information required to be disclosed here.

    1. Are there any criminal charges pending against you? Yes/No
    2. Do you have any prior convictions* OR prior disciplinary history at an academic institution (including pending disciplinary proceedings) for stalking, sexual assault, or domestic violence? Yes/No
    3. Have you had any convictions* within the past 5 years for assault, kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter, or murder? Yes/No
      * Conviction means a conviction by a jury verdict or by entry of a verdict or acceptance of a guilty plea or a plea of nolo contendere by a court. It does not include a plea to a deferred judgment and sentence unless and until the deferred judgment and sentence is revoked for non-compliance. You are not required to disclose any information contained in sealed records.
    4. Explanation: Provide a concise explanation that includes the date(s) of the incident(s), details regarding what happened, when and where the incident(s) occurred, and who was involved. Note which charges, if any, are pending. In cases of conviction and/or disciplinary action, specify what convictions, charges, or sanctions (if any) were brought upon you as a result, what penalty/remedy was assessed (if applicable) and how the situation was resolved.
      • It is also important to address what you have learned from your experience and what changes, if any, have resulted.
      • Your response will be reviewed by our Student Resolution Center (SRC) before your application is reviewed for an admission decision, and additional information may be requested by SRC as needed.

    Note: To be employed as a student employee at CSU (through an assistantship, fellowship, etc.), you must pass a complete criminal background check.

  1. For applicants who have pending criminal charges, have been convicted of a crime described above, have pending disciplinary proceedings for stalking, sexual assault, or domestic violence, or have a disciplinary history from an institution for acts of stalking, sexual assault, or domestic violence the procedures outlined below will be followed:
    1. A copy of the application for admission will be forwarded to the Student Resolution Center by the Office of Admissions. The Student Resolution Center will have a Hearing Officer from Student Conduct Services review the criminal history and/or disciplinary history and subsequent documentation.
    2. If the Hearing Officer determines that the criminal history and/or disciplinary history does not rise to a safety concern for the institution, the Hearing Officer will approve of discipline clearance for the applicant.
    3. If the Hearing Officer reviews the documentation provided by the applicant and believes this individual may endanger the health, safety or welfare of others or interfere with the educational environment and mission of the University, the Hearing Officer will forward the materials to the Pre-Admission Application Review Committee for a Pre-Admission hearing.
    4. The Pre-Admissions Application Review Committee may require that the applicant sign a release of information as it relates to compliance with sentencing, probation, or sanction requirements, treatment recommendations, treatment verification, etc.
    5. Members of the Pre-Admissions Application Review Committee will consist of a representative from each of the groups listed below.  When unique situations arise requiring expertise from other areas of campus, the committee will include those individuals on a case by case basis.  These representatives will be appointed by their respective groups.

For undergraduate applications, one representative from each of the following:

    • The Office of Admissions
    • Student Resolution Center
    • CSU Police Department
    • CSU Health Network Counseling Services
    • Associated Students of Colorado State University

For graduate applications, one representative from each of the following:

    • The Graduate School
    • Student Resolution Center
    • CSU Police Department
    • CSU Health Network Counseling Services
    • Associated Students of Colorado State University
  1. The Pre-Admissions Application Review Committee shall have access to all relevant information pertaining to the applicant, such as police reports, court documents and treatment provider recommendations. In addition, the Committee shall have the right to communicate with any person, including experts, who can supply relevant information.
  2. A pre-admission hearing will be convened by the Director of the Student Resolution Center once all relevant information is received. 
    1. Individuals identified for a Pre-Admission hearing will be given notice of the time, date, and location of the hearing and will be afforded the opportunity to submit a written statement and/or to appear in person (or from a distance using audio and/or visual technology).
    2. The applicant may bring an advisor or support person to the hearing, at their own expense. The advisor may be an attorney. The advisor is limited to counseling the applicant and may not represent the applicant, speak on the applicant’s behalf, or participate directly in the hearing. Advisors may not serve in a dual role as a witness in the hearing. The Pre-Admissions Application Review Committee may also consult with or include University Counsel as an advisor at the hearing.
  3. The Pre-Admissions Application Review Committee will forward to the Office of Admissions and/or Office of the Graduate Dean, as appropriate, a recommendation regarding the clearance of the applicant. The committee will set forth in writing the factual basis of its decision. When deemed appropriate, the committee may require conditions for clearance in the interest of protecting the health, safety and welfare of others or preventing interference with the educational environment and mission of the University.
    1. This may include on-going treatment, the denial of the right to participate in certain student and campus activities, and the denial of access to University residential facilities or other facilities.
    2. If the applicant is not cleared by the committee for reasons listed above, the Office of Admissions or the Graduate School, as appropriate, will withdraw the application from the review process.
  4. The Student Resolution Center will then inform the applicant and the appropriate department in writing of the decision, the reasons for the decision and that the applicant has the right to appeal the decision within ten (10) business days of the date of the letter. All appeals will be based on the record only; no new evidence or testimony will be taken. The applicant can direct an appeal to the office of the Provost/Executive Vice President at:

Office of the Provost/Executive Vice President
108 Administration Building
1001 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1001
Tel: 970-491-6614

  1. Appeals will be reviewed by the Office of the Provost/Executive Vice President. The decision of this office will be final.
  2. The University is authorized to conduct additional secondary screening after the application process as it relates to participation in campus activities and residing in University housing.

B.  Post Admission Consideration of Criminal and Disciplinary History in Campus Life. 

  1. The University is authorized to conduct post-admission screening of all Admitted Students to assess potential safety concerns which, if not identified, may present a knowing and probable threat to life, health, and safety of the University community.
  2. Admitted Students will be provided with Campus Safety Screening Questions as part of the continuing enrollment process.
  3. A “Yes” response to the screening questions will initiate a safety assessment based upon the student’s responses and explanations which will be confidentially reviewed by the Office of Support and Safety Assessment (SSA).
  4. Responses which indicate a potential safety concern will undergo further review and investigation by SSA.  Further investigation will include gathering of additional information from a variety of available sources and may include direct interview with the student.
  5. Student responses and explanations concerning questioned incidents will be screened to assess:
    a. If the provided explanation provides sufficient details to accurately screen the offense/violation.
    b. If the nature, gravity, or seriousness of the offense/violation presents a knowing and probable threat to life, health, or safety of the University community.
    c. Did the offense/violation involve credible threat of significant violence or a credible threat or use of a deadly weapon.
    d. If there is evidence of lack of compliance with previously imposed sanctions, restrictions, sentencing, counseling, or court requirements concerning the offense/violation.
    e. If the incident is an isolated offense/violation or is it indicative of a pattern of behavior.
  6. Assessment of the student’s response and explanation may result in first level screening clearance, or retention for further review.
  7. All Admitted Students will be required to respond to the Campus Safety Screening Questions.
  8. Students will be advised that failing or refusing to answer the Campus Safety Screening Questions will stop or delay the enrollment process and Housing assignments. Those students will be referred to the Office of Support and Safety Assessment for additional review.
  9. Past disciplinary or criminal history does not automatically disqualify a student from enrolling at CSU, residing in University Housing, or participating in any CSU programs.
  10. The Campus Safety Screening process is not conducted in an exclusionary manner. The process is intended to gather information to identify potential safety concerns which may impact the University community; and to help allocate resources to support those students who may benefit from those resources available through the University.

C.  Campus Safety Screening Questions

  1. Each Admitted Student must answer certain screening questions to complete their enrollment before attending any classes and before receiving a University Housing assignment. These questions and explanatory statements will focus on prior behavior to include criminal history.  
  2. Students will be advised to respond fully to these questions regardless of the responses to the non-academic conduct questions answered when the student applied.  Students will be further advised that false or incomplete information may be grounds for dismissal.
  3. This process is authorized by C.R.S. 23-5-106.5. You have the right to appeal a decision made based on any information required to be disclosed here. 
  4. Colorado State University living regulations require that all newly admitted first-year students (Admissions Type "New") and transfer students with fewer than 15 post-high school credits, who are single, under 21 years of age, and not living with their parents in the Fort Collins area, live in the University residence halls for the first two consecutive terms of their attendance. Credits taken concurrent with high school and/or credits attained through Advanced Placement (AP) do not apply towards living experience.

D. Records and Reports

  1. All records, reports, and proceedings shall be considered private by University personnel and shared only as reasonably necessary for review of the applicant’s request for admission, participation in Campus Life, or use of University Housing, subject to any applicable state or federal laws that may compel disclosure of all or part of such records.
  2. All proceedings and decisions will comply with Federal and state nondiscrimination laws, fairly balancing the obligation of the University to promote the safety and welfare of students, employees, and property with the civil rights of the applicant or student. If the applicant enrolls as a student, all records related to this policy will be governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g) and regulations (34 C.F.R. Part 99), together with the CSU FERPA policy. If the applicant is not admitted or does not enroll as a student, all records may be subject to the Colorado Open Records Act (§ 24-72-201 et seq.) and/or Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act (§ 24-72-301 et seq.). C.R.S. § 23-5-106.5, effective May 1, 2020, limits the inquiry into a college applicant’s non-academic conduct prior to admission. This bill also outlines parameters for the secondary screening of applicants who have been admitted. This policy conforms to the requirements and limitations of that bill.


Approved by the State Board of Agriculture, June, 1993

Revision approved by Lynn Johnson, Vice President for University Operations, September 22, 2015

Revision approved by Lynn Johnson, Vice President for University Operations, November 10, 2017

Revision approved by Lynn Johnson, Vice President for University Operations, April 27, 2020

Revision approved by Lynn Johnson, Vice President for University Operations, June 22, 2021