To 'minimize risk,' Penn State expands background check policy
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—Penn State University has implemented a new policy that requires current employees in "sensitive" areas, as well as all future final job candidates and third-party employees, to undergo criminal background checks.
The policy change comes in the wake of Jerry Sandusky's recent conviction on charges that he sexually abused several children during his 30-year career as Penn State's assistant football coach.
The school's new policy reflects best practices and was designed to ensure a job candidates criminal history and any potential child abuse records are reviewed, according to a statement from the school.
Besides affecting all future employees and contractors, the new policy requires background checks for all current employees considered to be in "sensitive/critical" positions, which include those with responsibility for protecting personal data, those with master key access to all buildings and those with responsibility for controlled substances or hazardous materials. The new policy also complies with background check guidelines recently issued by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“To provide the safest possible environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors it is imperative that Penn State implements consistent and thorough background check procedures,” Susan Basso, associate vice president for human resources, said in a statement. “This policy will help the university make sound hiring decisions and also will help minimize risk for the university.”
Penn State in early June also announced a new policy regarding the reporting of suspected cases of child abuse. The new policy states, in part, that all university employees must complete annual reporter training and that if any employee willfully fails to report a case of suspected child abuse, it will result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, according to the school.