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Background Checks

Policy Number: HR-52
Effective Date: January 2004
Revisions: February 2008
Responsible Officer: Senior Vice President of Student Life & Administrative Services


The purpose of conducting a background investigation is to confirm, within legal and professional limits, the qualification and suitability of the candidate to be employed in the position for which the candidate is applying.


The University will conduct background investigations on applicants for faculty and professional staff positions to determine or verify background information. This is to ensure that individuals who join the University are well qualified, have a strong potential to be productive and successful, and have accurately presented their background and qualifications in oral representations and in written materials including the Application for Employment Form and resume.

Having a criminal history, conviction or poor credit history does not necessarily preclude employment. The nature of the offense and its relevance to the particular position are considered on a case-by-case basis. Considerations include the nature of the position involved and the implication for the general safety and security of the campus community as well as the security of University assets. The Vice President for Human Resources (or designee), in consultation with the hiring department and the Office of the General Counsel, evaluates the relevance and makes the final employment determination.

The University complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which regulates the use of information gathered by consumer reporting agencies and which may determine an individual’s eligibility for employment, credit or insurance. To ensure confidentiality of all applicant information, Human Resources coordinates the background investigation process. Results of the background investigation are sent directly to Human Resources.

The University reserves the right to decline an applicant or to discipline and/or terminate an employee who has provided false, misleading, erroneous, or deceptive information on an application, resume, or during an interview or who has omitted material information during the hiring process.


  1. Background investigations are required for all new hires as a condition of employment, after the job offer is made. Employment will be contingent upon the University’s acceptance of the results of the background investigation.
  2. Background investigations are conducted on a current employee who transfers into a position when:
    a. the new position has been identified as requiring a specific form of
    background investigation; or
    b. that specific background investigation was not done when the employee was
    hired by the University.
  3. Human Resources, in collaboration with the hiring department, determines the extent of the background investigation for the open position. These may include any of the following:
    1. verification of Social Security number
    2. criminal history in the states where the individual resides or resided
    3. prior employment verification
    4. professional license verification, as needed
    5. educational verification
    6. child or elder abuse registry, as needed
    7. reference checks
    8. drug and alcohol screening
    9. sexual offender registry
    10. motor vehicle record
    11. credit history check.
    12. other checks as determined by Human Resources.
  4. The hiring department is responsible for the costs associated with conducting background investigations. Applicants are asked to sign a release form authorizing the background investigation and the release of information by former employers, educational institutions, or other organizations. A refusal to sign a release form eliminates the applicant from further consideration for employment.
  5. An applicant or employee who provides misleading, erroneous, or deceptive information on the application, resume, or during an interview or who has omitted material information during the hiring process could be eliminated from further consideration for employment or terminated


All job postings will include a statement indicating that candidates may be subject to a background investigation. Background investigations will be conducted on the selected candidate only. All offer letters should include a statement that the offer is contingent on the results of the University’s acceptance of the results of a background investigation. In the event the offer letter omits this statement, it is still the policy of the University to require background investigations in accordance with this Policy.

Should an adverse action be contemplated and/or taken because of the results of a background investigation on matters covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the University will comply with the notice provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The applicant will be provided with a copy of the background investigation report by Human Resources, and will be given an opportunity to admit, refute and/or correct any information provided in the report.

Regardless of whether a selected candidate has commenced working, the University reserves the right to rescind any offer of employment at any time, should the results of a background investigation be unacceptable to the University.