Anyone seeking a job in the University of Missouri system will soon be subject to a criminal background check, according to a policy revision that takes effect Oct. 1. The requirement applies to anyone who is newly hired, rehired or promoted and to most employees who are department transfers, as well as all applicants to faculty and staff full-time, part-time and temporary positions. It will not apply to student workers.
The policy change comes for consistency reasons to make sure everyone, both faculty and staff, is treated the same, said Karen Touzeau, assistant vice chancellor of Human Resource Services. MU has been doing criminal background checks since 1997, but only on staff employees.
The background checks will be performed by a third-party vendor, the Kansas City-based firm Validity Screening Solutions. The fact that Validity, a private firm that has more than 1,500 clients nationwide, will perform the background checks instead of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who has done them until now, means that the information will come from the national level and will be more comprehensive than before, Touzeau said.
Members of the Faculty Council have brought several concerns to the administration regarding the use of criminal background checks, said Frank Schmidt, chair of the Faculty Council.
One concern is that criminal background checks are thought to be “notoriously inaccurate,” Schmidt said. He said requiring criminal background checks could also interfere with academic freedom and civil rights.
Touzeau said that should the background check yield unfavorable results, the university will certainly look at the relevance of the charges presented by the background check in connection to the job description.
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