Public colleges in Texas could soon be able to learn more
about their students living on campus.
"I just think it's a good thing because it's going to make
it a safer environment for all students that live on campus that go to school on
campus," says Chris Craddock, public information officer for Kilgore College.
Craddock says Senator Tommy Williams is a Kilgore College
alumni and Williams' brother is the director of student affairs.
Senator Williams says his brother brought the issue of
background checks forward and inspired him to write a bill.
"Would you want your son or daughter to live with someone
who has pending charges for rape or some very serious charge? Someone ought to
be aware of that and be able to evaluate the situation," Williams says.
Colleges can already search a students' criminal history. Senate
Bill 146 would allow colleges to look at pending charges on a DPS database.
Craddock says Kilgore college has had several incidents
where knowing pending charges against a student in on-campus housing would have
"It's just for everything to be more transparent, for us to
know exactly who is living on campus and just because someone has a pending
charge doesn't mean they're not going to be able to come to school here or live
Senator Williams says the bill is just another way to
increase school safety.
"When we have young people living in such close proximity, I
think it's only reasonable that they should be able to conduct a background
check that would allow them to know about pending charges."
The bill will not require colleges to do background checks,
it just increases the information available to the school police chief and the
The criminal history record of a student could not be
released or disclosed to anyone in the college or university unless by court
order. Officials would be required to destroy the record after the academic
The bill was adopted unanimously by the state Senate last
Wednesday. The legislation must pass the Texas House before it goes to Gov.
Rick Perry to be signed into law.
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