By The Keystone staff
A required employee background check policy recently adopted by KU and other Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education schools garnered mixed reactions from student employees.
The policy, created by the Board of Governors, requires all workers involved with campus programs to get a FBI background check and complete Protection of Minors Training on D2L. The background check includes a criminal history record report, a certification from the Department of Human Services and fingerprinting (submitted to the state police for a federal criminal history record check). Implemented the spring semester, the background check is meant to protect children participating in activities on university property.
While individuals specifically working with children have always been required before to undergo background checks, the checks have stated to apply to the whole campus this semester.
Keystone editors new to the payroll had to complete background checks. These individuals were, at first, frustrated with the tedious paper work. Completing all components of the check means running around campus, and students’ schedules can be busy. Another concern was the time and money spent on it. Human Resources had to pool resources for these background checks to happen for employees on campus.
Even after this process, however, the Keystone agreed that it was worthwhile to help prevent frightening situations such as Jerry Sandusky molesting children at Penn State. The long-term effects of background checks really hit home. Knowing people’s histories makes for a more comfortable workplace, since an individual could interact with many people each day. This policy will ensure KU is only hiring employees that can safely work with children.
The policy could be especially encouraging for minors to visit campus. Minors participate in university activities in many ways, from school field trips to prospective student visits. Having this policy could put more parents at ease that their children are safe at KU.
For the Keystone in particular, it will ensure that we can easily communicate with prospective students who are interested in journalism. We want to be seen as role models that these young students can look up to and eventually work with.
Staff said the Human Resources employees who are conducting the checks were helpful and did not make the process too difficult. Background checks could even become more efficient as time goes on.
Hopefully, they may become so commonplace that employees will not even hesitate to complete them or consider why they are important.