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UNC Task Force Makes Recommendations For Campus Safety

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The UNC system is changing how it does business when it comes to admissions.

Last spring two UNC-Wilmington students were murdered within weeks of each other. Both suspects were UNC system students at one time. Police say both had criminal records but lied on their applications.

Tuesday, a task force announced new steps to ensure safety at all 16 campuses.

"We are committed to doing everything feasible and reasonable to provide a safe environment," said Molly Broad, UNC system president.

The university will conduct criminal background checks but only on a case-by-case basis.

Other measures include: - Requiring each campus to maintain a campus safety committee - Training faculty and staff to identify potentially dangerous behavior - Creating standardized questions on admission applications and more

When an a potential student's application raises a red flag, a background check will be performed.

"For example, an unexplained gap of time between high school graduation and application for admission or long-term suspension from a previous educational institution," said Bobby Kanoy, UNC system vice president.

But school administrators are quick to point out a prior criminal record doesn't mean college is out of the question. It will just mean there needs to be further discussion.

"How serious the crime was, what the nature of the crime was, how long ago it was and is there evidence they rehabilitated themselves," are the criteria, said Leslie Winner, UNC system lawyer.

Task force members admit there are no guarantees: With 16 campuses and nearly 190,000 students, there is always a chance someone with a potential for violence may slip through the cracks.

The system will also use a database to find out if an applicant was expelled or suspended from another campus.

Administrators hope to have the new safety measures in place by next fall.

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