State legislators and other individuals serving as Trustees for Delaware State University were shocked to learn that Freddie A Asinor, the head of the University’s College of Education, Health and Public Policy, is a convicted felon. Now they are urging the University to consider revising the hiring oversight and background check policies that allowed this felon to slip through the cracks and be hired.
Less than a year after his hiring, a local paper reported that Asinor has felony convictions for fraud, embezzlement, and falsifying US passport papers. The first felony case was prosecuted in 1990 in the state of South Carolina based on Asinor’s activities while working at Clemson University. Asinor used his position to submit invoices under false names for work that never took place and route payments to himself. The second felony case took place in 2007 in New Hampshire, when Asinor stated his birthplace as Connecticut rather than Ghana on a US Passport application. Asinor was convicted in both cases and sentenced to probation.
According to trustee Jose E Echeverri, the first he heard of these crimes was when he opened up his morning paper and read about them in the news. Trustees normally do not play a role in hiring decisions, which are handled by top administrators. However, Echeverri was very surprised to learn that such a big hiring mistake had been made by the University and pledged to investigate the situation further.
Although the University does utilize a third-party background check provider to vet all candidates who have accepted conditional job offers, in Asinor’s case the background check apparently came back clean. University spokesman Carlos Holmes would not comment on the details of Asinor’s background check or on the hiring decision.
One possible reason that Asinor’s convictions seem to have slipped through the cracks could be that a check against federal courts was not conducted. Employers that want to factor federal type crimes like extortion, identityt theft, fraud or tax evasion into their hiring process, need to supplement a typical national background checklike the US OneSEARCH from backgroundchecks.com with a seperate search of federal courts, whose records are not included with a database search.
Most Americans would agree that not every felon deserves to be automatically excluded from employment based on their convictions. Hiring decisions should be made on a case by case basis, with an emphasis on any convictions that are relevant to the job responsibilities at hand. In Asinor’s case, a felony conviction for embezzlement should have been a huge red flag. As an administrator of a College that makes up about a quarter of the University’s total enrollment, Asinor has access to and oversight of a significant portion of the $38.3 million that the state of Delaware provides to the university each year.
Now that Asinor’s criminal background is known, the trustees have urged the University to take the common-sense step of auditing his College’s finances for the past year.
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Author: Michael Klazema