In order to acquire a space in school or on campus, it is not necessary for college applicants to fill out a background check. Completing background checks is not part of the admission process.
According to the N.H. Department of Safety website, some things a background check would consist of are a criminal record check, a social security number check, verified employment history, and a verified education history.
From research, most schools do not do background checks on their applicants.
One reason why Keene State College does not do background checks is because it costs $25, according to the N.H. Department of Safety website. “We get about 7,000 applications a year,” Peg Richmond, director of admissions, said, “That’s a lot of cost and a lot of time.”
Currently, there is a question on the application asking if the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime or felony.
According to Richmond, the question is for the student to consult the counselor about how he or she should answer that question. However, if admissions deems the offense too risky for the students and faculty of Keene State College, the applicant cannot come to the school.
“If that offense is severe enough or offensive enough that it would endanger the community in any way, they are not allowed admission,” Richmond explained.
Admissions takes different precautions when dealing with a transfer student. Richmond said, “A student who is transferring has to have a form from the Dean of Students.”
The process for evaluating a student’s behavior is slightly altered if a student is found responsible for a crime on campus. This kind of offense, needs to be taken up with the Office of Student Conduct and the Dean of Students.
“They would have a hearing,” Gail Zimmerman, associate vice president and dean of students, said. According to Zimmerman, if the student is found responsible, he or she will receive a “sanction.”
The consequence may be academic probation or suspension. This goes on the student’s permanent record.
If the police are involved in a situation on or off of campus, the police department may take the case into its hands.
“Sometimes the police ask us to delay the responding,” Zimmerman stated.
Zimmerman followed up, “If we have our own evidence then we make a determination if it violates the code of conduct.” The code of conduct can be found on the Keene State College website.
If an incident were to happen over the summer, the school may or may not address it depending on the severity, according to Zimmerman.
Yet the students of KSC are not too keen on the idea of background checks.
“I don’t think we should prohibit people who have had a difficult past from trying to further their education,” sophomore Lauren Powers said.
A student who wanted to remain unnamed agreed, “I feel you should only need a background check if you’re applying for a job, not if you’re going to school.”
Though students don’t like the background check, some said it wouldn’t hurt to know a roommate’s history.
“I wouldn’t trust him at first. It would take some time,” freshman Alex Littlefield said. “They should also let us know if something is in our dorm.”
KSC used to hold interviews for potential students. The college does not give out interviews anymore. The students had something to say about that. “I think it [an interview] might be helpful in choosing people, but I don’t think it’s really necessary,” an anonymous source said.
Sophomore Jared Paul agreed, “It seems like it [an interview] would kind of be a waste because people would be putting up an act.”
Another item that KSC students can agree on is that the campus is a safe place to be. According to Paul, there isn’t anyone who is very scary and complimented the college by saying, “Whatever they’re doing, it’s working.”
Powers said, “Since it’s a smaller school and campus you tend to know people or at least seen them around.”
“I definitely feel safe on campus,” Littlefield said. “There’s always people around and I’m usually within a couple seconds of one of the emergency stations or campus safety.” If there is a situation that is bigger than the school’s system, the school may call in the Keene Police Department, to ensure the safety of the students at KSC.
Rebecca Marsh can be contacted at