Duke Faculty Applicants May Have to Consent to Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 4/5/2013

Currently, only some Duke faculty members have to undergo background checks. Right now though, there are talks in which policy makers are deciding whether or not to make that a universal policy across the entire campus. In other words, every single faculty member would be required to consent to a background check before being eligible for employment at Duke University.

The Academic Council is in charge of the decision, and more talks are planned for this Thursday. The policy change is meant to be similar to similar regulations at institutions across the nation. Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President for Administration says that implement universal background checks for all university hires has become a sort of best practice, not only in the academic world, but in all industries. Thus, it is only natural that Duke follows suit.

Of course, though he supports the new policy, he wants to make sure everyone knows how it will work. He believes it should be an objective, thorough, and confidential process. He says it’s also up to the university to make sure every check is done in the same way.

Ph. D. student, Tripp Young, may soon have to undergo the background check himself, and he is fine with it. He said he’s had background checks for all of his other jobs, and doesn’t see why he wouldn’t need to for the university. His background is in the military, specifically in intelligence operations, where background information can be crucial to the job. While he says that information might not be as important in the university setting, it can provide beneficial information when making hiring decisions.

There is also a possibility that the checks may be required of current faculty members, but this has not yet been discussed. If the policy does go to that extent though, Cavanaugh stressed that it would not be to weed out any particular members. Instead, it would be to create a “protected atmosphere for those involved with the university.” In other words, they want to make sure they perform their due diligence when it comes to providing a safe and secure place of learning and employment.

When it comes to vetting potential professions, the most useful background tool would likely be Education Verification. At, companies can invest in this type of check to find out for sure whether or not someone holds the degrees they claim on their application. For universities interested in criminal behavior though, they will likely want to invest in an additional US One SEARCH, which searches more than 450 million records nationwide. Of course, educational facilities may go with an entire package of screening tools, including drug screening, reference verifications, registered offender searches, or even ongoing criminal monitoring. As long as each tool is used objectively, they can learn a lot about both potential and current employees.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and cofounder of the Expungement Clearinghouse - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit



Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 20 Employers who use E-Verify must follow the proper steps and procedures when they receive a “tentative non-confirmation notice” from either the Social Security Administration or Department of Homeland Security. Failure to follow the proper procedures can cost employers both time and money. 
  • March 20

    Four Department of Commerce employees are out after their background checks resulted in security clearance denials. All four had worked high-ranking positions for months despite incomplete background checks.

  • March 15 As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, they contend with the emergence of new industries surrounding marijuana cultivation and production. 
  • March 14 In most cases, it is easy to determine where an issue might show up on a pre-employment background check. Citations for traffic violations or reckless driving charges will appear on a motor vehicle record check. Verdicts in a civil court case will show on a civil court background check. And criminal convictions—from petty theft to violent felonies—show up on criminal background checks.
  • March 13 How many years back do employment background checks go? This question can have multiple different answers depending on the situation.
  • March 13 A new bill in Florida would require landlords of apartment complexes to present tenants with verifications of employee background checks to give them peace of mind the people working in and around their homes are trustworthy.
  • March 08 Police officers working with the University of Texas at Arlington recently arrested a man who had avoided police capture on a warrant out of Oregon for nearly two decades. The man, whose real name is Daniel Charles Ray Hanson, spent those 17 years using a variety of fake names and identification documents to move around the country, often engaging with educational institutions under false pretenses. Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995. 
  • March 07

    The Future of EEOC Guidance in Texas Is Up in the Air

    The EEOC issued guidance in 2012 warning employers about the dangers of enforcing categorical policies to bar candidates with criminal histories. That guidance is not enforceable in Texas thanks to a recent court ruling.

  • March 05 Vermont is the latest state to restrict employers’ access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants. 
  • March 01 In an age of "industry disruptors" turning established business models on their heads, companies such as Uber and Lyft rely on a unique workforce of individuals outside the traditional employer-employee context. Uber calls them "partners" while other businesses refer to them as "independent contractors," the official classification these individuals use for tax purposes. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) revealed they had warned a business, Postmates, for misclassifying their staff as independent contractors. In the NLRB's determination, these individuals were employees.