The University of Nevada, Reno, is now able to deny registered sex offenders admission to the school, according to a new policy from the Nevada System of Higher Education.
The policy clearly states the school’s right to deny or dismiss a student, professor or employee from the campus if they are a registered sex offender. It was written up this year after the other NSHE schools expressed their desire for a formal policy on how to conduct formal matters in regard to sex offenders.
The Board of Regents does not have specific guidelines when it comes to admitting people to the university who have been placed on the sex offender registry.
Registered sex offenders can apply to the university the same as any other student. After they have been accepted, they then must register with the campus police, who monitor them from there.
The new policy now allows the university to ask the offenders to identify themselves during the application process.
The campus police work with the city police, as well as the offender’s parole officer, to ensure they are not violating any laws while on campus. This includes scheduling classes so that they are not with minors or near the day cares on campus.
The university registrar, Heather Turk, was on the committee that devised the new policy. She says that most of the time, sex offenders know what regulations are set for them and go out of their way to follow them.
“The university just wants to work with them to make sure they are meeting those restrictions,” Turk said.
Turk also said that most of the time, the police will just have a conversation with the sex offender once they are registered on campus. If they are a higher-level threat, there could potentially be scheduled check-in times with the police, along with other precautions.
There are three tiers that sex offenders can be classified under, according to the State of Nevada Sexual Offender Registry. Tier one is a low-risk offender. This includes individuals who have been convicted of possession of child pornography. Tier two is a moderate-risk offender. This includes people who have been convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor 13 years or older or production or distribution of child pornography. Tier three is a high-risk offender. This includes those who have been convicted of kidnapping, rape or sexual misconduct with a minor under the age of 12.
The new policy allows the campus police to review the offenders’ classification and decide whether they are a safety concern to the university.
Turk said the last time she checked, there was only one sex offender enrolled at the university. However, when the Reno Gazette-Journal reported on this matter two weeks ago, they stated there were five sex offenders enrolled at UNR. The Nevada Sagebrush was unable to verify which was the correct figure before print time.
Registered sex offenders visiting UNR must identify themselves with the police if they plan to be on campus longer than 48 hours in compliance with the university’s policy.
“Our safety and security of our students is our number-one priority, and the police are really exceptional at making sure that we are making the community safe for the students that are here,” Turk said. “Everybody is concerned about protecting everyone’s rights.”
Madeline Purdue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @madelinepurdue.