Though Idaho State University was established in 1901 and had more than 13,500 students as of the fall 2016 semester, the school had not run employee background checks until 2016. Per a report from The Bengal, ISU’s student-run newspaper, the university has added pre-employment background checks to its hiring process, implemented in October of last year.
Per coverage, the change is the work of ISU’s Department of Human Resources, which is responsible for hiring all full-time employees to work on the ISU campus. This group of employees includes professors who interact with students, coaches who work with student athletes, and other faculty and staff members.
Based on the Bengal report, the university’s current hiring policy follows the process laid out below:
- The university posts a job and collects applications. The HR department sorts through the applications and eliminates any applicants whose resumes do not match the minimum requirements for the position at hand.
- A search committee is convened, usually consisting of faculty members within the college offering the job. The search committee is responsible for conducting interviews and reference checks.
- At the end of the screening process, the committee narrows down the field and selects a finalist or two. Names are given to the dean of the college, who will then extend an offer of employment to selected candidates.
- The name of the top candidate is given to an outside background check company which carries out criminal background checks and verifications of employment history, education, and professional licenses and credentials.
Per coverage, under new university policy, all full-time hiring offers are contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. University policy states that candidates will not be disqualified because they have criminal histories. ISU has pledged to evaluate the relevance of the criminal conviction to the position at hand. Only if the criminal history is relevant to the responsibilities of the job will the university rescind an employment offer based on background check findings. The time period of the criminal conviction is also a factor that the university considers.
Previously, Idaho State University had no policies on the books requiring formal criminal background checks or verification checks for applicants, coverage confirms. The search committee was expected to check references and look for red flags but criminal history was not a point of focus.
The school fired an employee for embezzlement in early March, a few months after implementing its new background check policies. The Bengal report did not note when the man was hired or whether he went through a background check of any kind.