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Faculty Criminal Conviction Checks Policy and Procedure

CONTENTS

Purpose

Definitions

Applicability

Timing and Scope of Check

Procedure for Requesting a Criminal Conviction Check

Requirement to Disclose Convictions and Confidentiality

Consideration and Assessment of Prior Criminal Convictions

Convictions Determined to Adversely Affect Appointment Eligibility

Policy Background

Related subjects

Purpose

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will not employ individuals with prior criminal convictions who pose an unacceptable risk to the University or its employees, students, and visitors. This policy establishes procedures for carrying out a criminal conviction check for prospective faculty appointees.

Definitions

“Prospective faculty appointee” a person who has been approved as a final candidate or conditionally offered a salaried or non-salaried faculty appointment at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, whether permanent or temporary, including tenured, tenure track, and fixed-term faculty appointments.

“Criminal conviction(s)” means all prior criminal convictions and pleas that are acknowledgements of criminal responsibility, including prayers for judgment. This also includes any convictions or pleas that are acknowledgments of criminal responsibility subject to the jurisdiction of a military court.

Applicability

This policy applies only to the initial appointment of a prospective faculty appointee. It does not apply to any subsequent reappointments or promotions.

Timing and Scope of Check

The University will conduct a pre-employment criminal conviction check for prospective faculty appointees, it is intended that the check will be completed no more than 60 days prior to the appointee’s date of appointment. If circumstances prevent completion before the date of appointment, the appointment letter will indicate that employment is conditional upon completion of a criminal conviction check.

The University will seek information on all prior criminal convictions and on the county and state of all prior residential and work locations. Prior arrests or detention orders that did not result in criminal convictions or pleas, or expunged convictions, will not be considered nor information shared.

The criminal conviction check will only be used for evaluating the prospective faculty appointee for employment. It will not be used to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age.

Procedure for Requesting a Criminal Conviction Check

When an appointing department reaches the final selection stage in the hiring process for a faculty position, the department will provide the prospective faculty appointee with an Criminal Conviction Check Authorization Form which will then be returned directly to the applicable dean or his/her designee.

The completed form should be forwarded to: Office of Human Resources, Background Check Unit, AOB, 104 Airport Drive, CB #1045.

The University will then initiate a criminal conviction check in those states in which the appointee has lived or worked subject to the availability of records and the University’s prevailing criminal conviction check protocols.

Departments will be charged the University’s current fees for conducting the requested criminal background check. UNC Public Safety will send any criminal convictions results to the appropriate dean.

Requirement to Disclose Convictions and Confidentiality

In order to be considered for an appointment, each prospective faculty appointee must provide information about his or her criminal conviction record using the form prescribed. A prospective faculty appointee who fails to provide the information in a complete and timely manner or who willfully omits, conceals or falsifies criminal conviction information may have his or her candidacy for appointment rejected, an offer of appointment withdrawn, or be terminated if conditionally appointed subject to a criminal conviction check.

University officials who process information collected pursuant to this policy will assure that it is held confidentially and securely and that it is disclosed only to University or State officials who have a direct role in acting on this information. This information is considered confidential in the same manner as other non-public personnel information.

Consideration and Assessment of Prior Criminal Convictions

In considering a criminal conviction of a prospective faculty appointee, the appropriate dean, in consultation with the Director for Academic Personnel, will assess the potential risks of each conviction in relation to the appointment being considered. The Office of University Counsel will also be consulted as deemed appropriate. The following basic factors will be considered:

  • The relationship of the criminal conviction to the appointment for which the individual is being considered.
  • The context of the events surrounding the criminal conviction.
  • The future likelihood of illegal activity by the prospective faculty appointee as might be indicated by a pattern of criminal convictions.

If a criminal conviction is determined to exist and rises to the level of barring appointment, the dean may exercise discretion in determining that there are mitigating factors which may permit the appointment to be granted. These factors may include:

  • The totality of the circumstances related to the criminal conviction.
  • The age of the applicant at the time of the criminal conviction.
  • The length of time since the criminal conviction.
  • The individual’s behavior since the criminal conviction.
  • Any other extenuating circumstances documented by the prospective faculty appointee or otherwise known to the appointing official.

For general guidance, simple possession or use of an illegal drug does not necessarily bar appointment if there is not a continuing pattern of illegal drug use, nor conviction for DWI or DUI if there is not a continuing pattern of conduct.

Convictions Determined to Adversely Affect Appointment Eligibility

If a prospective faculty appointee is disqualified wholly or in part due to the results of the criminal convictions check, specific notifications are required under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. Upon reaching a preliminary determination to bar a prospective faculty appointment, the candidate must be sent the following material by the dean:

The prospective faculty appointee has ten (10) calendar days after receipt of above material to respond to the dean with any additional information they want the University to consider in reaching a final determination.

If a dean’s determination to bar an appointment in whole or part on the basis of a criminal conviction stands following receipt of any additional information from a prospective faculty appointee, such decision must be reviewed by the EVC&P or designee. Matters referred for the EVC&P’s review under this policy shall be routed through the Director for Academic Personnel.

In the event a final determination is reached to bar appointment of the prospective faculty appointee based in whole or part on a criminal convictions check, a second registered letter must be sent to the prospective faculty appointee after the ten (10) day period.

Any decision to bar appointment due to a prior criminal conviction made by an appropriate dean and the Office of the EVC&P shall then be considered final.

For assistance interpreting and applying these guidelines, contact the Director for Academic Personnel in the Office of the EVC&P.

Policy Background

This policy was reviewed for information with the Board of Trustees University Affairs Committee on March 21, 2007.

This policy is effective July 1, 2007

Revision History:

Initial Publication – April 30, 2007

Modification to reflect changes in the procedure to initiate a criminal convictions check, and prospective faculty appointee notification procedure – September 28, 2007.

Related subjects