‘Wow’: Officials unaware of arrested faculty member’s criminal record

James Vaughn

Former guest theatre director Gerald McIntyre, who was arrested Feb. 5, at his on-campus apartment for possession of drugs, has a criminal record in New York that USI officials were unaware of, despite the fact that all hires undergo background checks.

McIntyre was scheduled in a New York courtroom Feb. 13, two days after his first court hearing in Vanderburgh County.

According to New York state documents, he was detained in New York July 9, 2012, on four charges, including two arrest charges for fleeing a police officer and “Dwai” (driving while ability impaired).

“Wow. I’m not sure how we missed that,” Provost Ron Rochon said. “I’ll have to look into that myself.”

Though faculty hires at USI are background checked, drug tests are not required.

Rochon said drug tests are not a common university practice.

“We’ve just never done it,” Rochon said. “It’s something that’s going to be explored, without question.”

He said USI is a growing university.

“Matters like this are becoming more prevalent,” Rochon said.

McIntyre’s attorney Jeremy Morris of Fine and Hatfield said McIntyre posted bond Feb. 6, the day after his arrest.

For the charges brought against him on Feb. 5,  he will appear in Vanderburgh County court March 19.

Human Resources Director Donna Evinger said background checks for full-time faculty are done out of her office. The background checks consist of criminal and sex offender checks in every state the potential hire has lived in.

“Those are only as good as each state’s database,” Evinger said.

The faculty profiles then go to a search committee. The final step is a review by the Provost’s Office, she said.

Evinger said the deans of the colleges or department chairs are responsible for background checks for part-time hires.

The faculty member’s file eventually comes in to be part of a file in the Human Resources Department. There are 300 to 400 adjuncts every semester, Evinger said.

She’s only been with the university for six years and does not know the historical reasons why drug tests aren’t required, she said.

“We’ve had discussions from time to time that predate the McIntyre incident,” Evinger said.

The Human Resources Department has discussed the drug testing policy in the past six months, but no formal proposal has been developed, she said.

The only faculty at USI required by state law to undergo drug tests are teachers in the Children’s Learning Center.

She agreed drug testing is not common at the university level.

Theatre Department Chair Elliot Wasserman could not be reached for comment.

College of Liberal Arts Dean Michael Aakhus said he does not know who conducted McIntyre’s background check.

A human resources representative at Indiana State University said they encourage their faculty to “live a drug free life,” but they do not require drug tests.

Western Kentucky University does not drug test all hires, but they do initiate random drug tests on faculty.

Ball State University faculty are not drug tested.

All three universities complete background checks on faculty hires.