New UNLV Initiative
Issues of mass incarceration and criminalization in American society are well documented. For individuals looking to change their lives and put the stigma of their pasts behind them, higher education provides an opportunity for upward social and economic mobility. Despite the opportunity a college education provides, students with criminal backgrounds (justice-involved/impacted individuals) often encounter cultural and structural barriers which negatively affect issues of access and success. Source: NASPA.org
Some UNLV students face societal barriers as a result of their interaction with the criminal justice system. Having an arrest, criminal charge, or record of conviction can impact career and educational opportunities. UNLV is dedicated to providing guidance and support services that enhance the academic experience from orientation to graduation and beyond.
To that end, a task force was recently formed to investigate and identify programs and services that support Justice Impacted students. While this initiative is in the development phase, a website and informational materials have been created. Also, campus and community resources and partners have come together to positively impact Justice Impacted students attending UNLV.
The goals of this new initiative are to:
- Create inclusive communities – break cycle of demeaning language and perpetual labeling by humanizing our student population
- Accommodate students schedules (class attendance or on-campus employment) so able to meet with parole officers without penalty
- Provide access and resources for upward economic and social mobility
- Recognize the “gifts” justice-impacted students bring to UNLV
- Acknowledge the stigma many justice-impacted students carry
- Evaluate institutional culture and structures that discourage justice-impacted students from enrolling and persisting
- Provide faculty and staff with training – reduce misinformation and lack of information about access to services and resources
Both recorded and virtual presentations will be available soon for staff teams. In the meantime, please take some time to visit and share the UNLV Justice Impacted Student Initiative website to learn more.