The Box: Unboxed


Grace Halio

What is the box and why are NYU students in such vehement opposition to it?

The IEC advocates for the removal of “the box,” which refers to the following two questions students are asked to disclose when applying to NYU undergraduate programs using the Common App:

Have you ever been found responsible for a disciplinary violation at any educational institution you have attended from the 9th grade (or the international equivalent) forward, whether related to academic misconduct or behavioral misconduct, that resulted in a disciplinary action?

Have you ever been adjudicated guilty or convicted of a misdemeanor, felony or other crime?

The IEC believes these questions pose as an entrance barrier to formerly incarcerated persons pursuing higher education. In addition, the IEC argues that the box discriminates against students of color and other marginalized groups because people of color are overrepresented in the prison system and are more likely subjected to checking the box on their applications.

It’s worth noting that New York City employers, by law, cannot ask job applicants about their criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment has been given. In addition, the NYU Silver School of Social Work and NYU Wagner do not require students to disclose their criminal records.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 28 print edition. Email Lexi Faunce and Anne Cruz at [email protected].