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Background checks to be required on all hires

New policy to take effect in September

Criminal background checks for all new hires will be required beginning next month. The Kansas Board of Regents mandated that state universities adopt a policy requiring the checks earlier this year to help increase campus security.

Human Resources and Equal Opportunity has drafted a policy that will be reviewed by KU administration and by the regents in September. The policy requires criminal background checks for all newly hired or rehired faculty, staff, salaried student employees and temporary or limited term appointments of six months or more. Student hourly employees who work with non-KU student minors will be subject to state sexual offender registry checks. All job offers will be contingent on successful completion of the check.

KU has hired a vendor that will conduct the background checks. Departments hiring the candidate will be required to pay for the check, a cost estimated at about $50, said Ola Faucher, director of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity. The vendor will contact the candidate via e-mail and conduct a criminal history check in the county and state the applicant has lived in for the past several years, in addition to a federal check and a National Sex Offender Registry check. HREO will work with applicants to help establish an e-mail address and provide access to a computer if necessary.

Upon completion of the background check, the vendor will send a report to HREO. If any convictions are reported, HREO, the Provost's Office and General Counsel will determine if the conviction disqualifies the candidate from employment on a case-by-case basis. Criminal convictions will not automatically disqualify candidates for employment. In accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, candidates will be notified of any convictions found by the check, and will have an opportunity to respond. Applicants will be notified of the checks at the time of application. All documents and information that result that from the background checks will remain confidential.

Self-disclosure of convictions will remain a part of the application process for staff and student hourly employees. If an applicant fails to disclose a conviction, it could result in disqualification for employment, withdrawal of a job offer or termination.

Upon completion of the background check, the vendor will send a report to HREO. If any convictions are reported, HREO, the Provost's Office and General Counsel will determine if the conviction disqualifies the candidate from employment on a case-by-case basis. Department leadership may appeal this decision through the Provost's Office.

If a department has a background check policy already in place, they should make a written request for exemption to Faucher to ensure it meets the requirements of the regents' policy.

Training sessions for department personnel who have hiring responsibilities will be scheduled in September. The dates, times and locations of the sessions will be announced later. For questions on the policy, e-mail to hrdept@ku.edu.

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The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.