Regents drop discussion on statewide transcript notation policy for sexual assault findings

Kansas Board of Regents

A Kansas Board of Regents initiative to require all Kansas state universities to place notations on transcripts of students expelled for sexual violence appears to have died.

At most Kansas universities, students disciplined for sexual assault can transfer to other schools with no flag on their records indicating a problem with past conduct. Two of the schools, the University of Kansas and Kansas State University, do have policies to note the transcripts of students expelled for sexual assault.

The Regents Council of Presidents — made up of leaders of the six state universities — agreed in December 2015 they wanted a statewide requirement that all universities add a transcript notation if a student is expelled for sexual assault or other serious personal offenses.

The proposal never reached the full Board of Regents for a vote.

In this file photo from Sept. 16, 2014, demonstrators sit outside Strong Hall to protest Kansas University's handling of sexual assault investigations.

At the Regents’ September meeting, members of the Governance Committee discussed the issue.

“A very small number of students are expelled for non-academic reasons,” according to minutes from that meeting. “Additionally, the Students’ Advisory Committee leadership indicated that the students still care about this issue but currently no one is specifically interested in an across the board policy and believe that non-academic misconduct should be handled on a case-by-case basis. Following discussion, the Committee decided not to pursue this policy at this time.”

It was students who first brought the issue to the Regents.

The Council of Presidents discussion followed months of work by students at KU and other state schools, including a spring 2015 KU Student Senate resolution encouraging the Regents to adopt a policy.

Nationally, similar policies have been controversial, with opponents likening them to turning academic transcripts into “an internal sex offender registries for colleges,” to quote one Inside Higher Ed article.