Senate addresses Protection Policy

Brandon Field said frequent background checks are the reality of life in 2017.

The Child Protection policy, which was discussed at the Faculty Senate meeting on Friday, was the subject of an email sent to faculty and staff (from Human Resources) who were due for a background check.

Field, secretary of Faculty Senate, said some people took issue with the email, citing the language implied that they had some type of criminal record.

“I came to the realization that this means different things to different people,” he said. “To communicate it in this way was a little off-putting to some people.”

Field said he wasn’t offended by the email and realizes that it is meant to protect both children and faculty.

“You don’t think about it, because you don’t deal with little kids on a professional level,” he said. “You just have to be a little more alert.”

Field said it is the responsibility of the deans to identify the people who, in their job responsibilities, work with children.

He said the dean of the Pott College of Science, Engineering and Education Zane Mitchell decided to have a background check on everyone in the college so as not to have to go through every faculty member and decide who will be working with minors and who won’t.

“Faculty and staff members in any position identified by the university as working with or having access to children, whether regularly or intermittently, will be subject to periodic background checks during employment,” according to the university handbook. “For faculty and staff members in such child-access positions, the human resources department will conduct a criminal background check a minimum of every five years and a sex offender check every year.”

Nicholas LaRowe, the chair of Faculty Senate, said he will talk to Human Resources in the near future to discuss the language of the email.