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Rackham Applicant Misconduct Disclosure Review Process: Frequently Asked Questions

Rackham Graduate School has developed an admissions application review process, which seeks to protect the safety and academic integrity of the U-M community while ensuring a fair and equitable admissions review procedure for prospective students.

As part of the graduate admissions process, applicants are required to respond to academic and criminal misconduct questions. Answers to these questions do not automatically bar applicants from admissions.

Rackham integrates a restorative framework when assessing answers to misconduct questions, and it encourages all interested prospective graduate students to apply.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the misconduct disclosure review process can be found below:

What are the misconduct questions that applicants must answer when applying to Rackham graduate programs?

Academic misconduct questions include:

“Have you ever been suspended or dismissed from any college or university you have attended as a result of misconduct, including academic misconduct or violation of the student code of conduct?”

“Are there any academic misconduct or violation of the student code of conduct claims currently pending against you?”

Criminal misconduct questions include:

“As an adult, have you ever been convicted of a felony involving violent or assaultive behavior, weapon possession, property destruction, or sexually related offenses?”

“Is there any felony charge involving violent or assaultive behavior, weapon possession, property destruction, or sexually related offenses currently pending against you?”

Applicants are asked to reply “yes” or “no” to these questions.

Am I required to respond to the misconduct questions on the Rackham admissions application?

Yes, all applicants to Rackham graduate programs are required to respond to the academic and criminal misconduct questions on the admissions application.

Will my answers to the misconduct questions preclude me from being offered admission?

No, an affirmative answer to these questions will not automatically bar an applicant from admission.

What happens to my answers to the misconduct questions after I submit my application?

If the graduate program to which the prospective student applies recommends admitting the applicant, the appropriate Rackham committees will evaluate the applicant’s answers to the misconduct questions in order to assess the admissibility of that applicant.

Graduate programs are not able to consider applicant answers to the academic and criminal misconduct questions when making initial recommendations for admission.

If I answered “yes” to one of the misconduct questions, what is the process for evaluating my admissibility if I am recommended for admission by the graduate program to which I am applying?

If an applicant answers “yes” to a misconduct question, the application will be reviewed by the appropriate Rackham review committee to determine the admissibility of the applicant.

The Rackham review committee will make use of a restorative framework when assessing the applicant’s admissibility.

What does a restorative framework for assessing misconduct entail?

Rackham’s restorative justice framework determines if prospective students have been rehabilitated by examining the degree to which the applicant has:

  1. accepted responsibility for their offense(s);
  2. attempted to repair the harm caused to victims and communities; and,
  3. made efforts to reduce the risk of reoffense by building positive social ties to the community.
What documentation may be required as part of the evaluation process?

When submitting their applications, prospective students answering “yes” to any of the misconduct questions authorize U-M’s Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) to conduct a background check, if determined to be necessary. They also authorize Rackham Graduate School to access educational records, which are retained by the applicant’s school of prior enrollment, if deemed necessary.

During this process, applicants may be required to clarify additional questions from Rackham. They may also be asked to provide Rackham additional information and documentation, such as sanctions letters from previous institutions.

Similarly, DPSS regularly retrieves court records and police reports to support Rackham as it determines an applicant’s admissibility.

Can I appeal the Rackham committee decision if denied admission?

The decisions rendered by the Rackham review committees may only be appealed to the Rackham dean.