Background checks turn from practice to policy

Faculty Senate voted to endorse the new Child Protection Policy detailing the process of background checks and hiring workers for events involving minors at its meeting Dec. 4.

The new document, a two-year project, is to be fully implemented in January.

Donna Evinger, executive director of Human Resources, said the policy requires background checks of faculty and staff of events with children not only at hiring but periodically during employment as well.

The policy also requires online training required of all staff working with children.

“One obvious area this policy affects is the Children’s Learning Center,” Evinger said. “They’ll be sending a list to the dean identifying which (workers) might work with children.”

Member-at-large Nicholas LaRowe asked if there were set rules about background checks or if the policy allows room for discretion.

“It’s not set,” Evinger said. “When (a crime is) evaluated, we look at how serious it is, how long ago it was and what the nature of the (desired) position is.”

She said over time the committee will continue to work through internal guidelines and develop more specific criteria.

Based on Evinger’s presentation, Faculty Senate called for a vote to endorse the policy, which passed.

“Background checks have been practice but not policy,” Evinger said. “We want to articulate that in the handbook.”