Felon wants to attend UNCG

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GREENSBORO, NC -- A prospective college student looking for a second chance won't find it at UNC-Greensboro.

Chase Clark, 26, served more than two years for committing mitigated robbery in Memphis during his senior year of high school in 2006.

"During that time I got my GED," Clark said. "I got paroled early for good behavior."

Clark claims he's turned his life around, avoiding trouble since he got out of the Shelby County (Tenn) Corrections system and enrolling at GTCC where he has a 3.8 GPA in psychology.

He had hoped to attend UNC-Greensboro to get a bachelor's degree in psychology and eventually pursue a law degree.

He admitted on his application that he had been convicted of a felony and on June 3, Clark received word from Lise Keller, UNCG's Director of Undergraduate Admissions, that,

"We appreciate your interest. Students who answer in the affirmative to questions concerning criminal convictions are assessed to determine if this institution is a good fit at this time. Unfortunately, after reviewing the information you submitted, we are unable to offer you admission to UNCG for the Fall 2013 semester."

Clark wonders how long he'll have to pay for what he calls a "dumb decision."

"As a felon, it's almost to the point were we're going back to a class system, and felons are right below the poor," Clark said.

Clark said he's had a hard time finding a place to live and getting a job that pays more than minimum wage. He's currently working at a car wash while he attends GTCC.

"I'm lucky I don't have a family. You can't support a family on minimum wage. What kind of man am I if I can't support a family?" Clark said.

UNCG admissions personnel would not comment on the situation.

Keller directed FOX8 to the UNC Policy Manual, which says in part,

"...the constituent institution must make an individual determination as to whether the nature of any crime committed or other behavior disclosed, together with other available information, suggests that the applicant will pose a significant threat to campus safety."

In non-academic terms, the decision is up to UNCG. The admissions officers and the Dean of Students said no.

Clark asserts he is not a threat to campus safety, despite the past that haunts him from seven years ago.

"I've become a positive member of society," Clark said. "What more do you want?"

Clark isn't sure he'll ever get that second chance, and he says he's starting to understand why convicted felons offend again after their release.

"I can't go to school because they won't let me in because I have a felony. And that's the thing I need on my application so they can give me a second chance."

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