UTSA to implement new policy regarding criminal background checks

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(Oct. 26, 2010)--Safety and security are important components of the university experience. For that reason and to be consistent with the new University of Texas System policy, the UTSA Office of Human Resources in cooperation with the UTSA Police Department will conduct Criminal Background Checks (CBCs) on faculty, staff and student employees who did not undergo checks at the time of hiring. Approximately 1,700 employees never had a criminal background check since they were hired prior to the implementation of CBCs at UTSA.

"As educators and public stewards, it is essential that we foster a campus environment to ensure safety and security," said UTSA President Ricardo Romo.

UTSA initiated CBCs as part of the routine employment process for staff in October 2003 and for faculty in January 2005. More than 26,000 CBCs were completed on applicants from 2008 through June 2010.

The new policy, which requires that all employees who have not undergone a CBC to have one completed, was implemented Sept. 1 by the UT System and requires that the CBCs be completed no later than Aug. 31, 2011. UTSA will use information from the Texas Department of Public Safety's public website for these criminal background checks. The site is available to anyone and reports convictions and deferred adjudications.

Each of the approximate 1,700 employees will be notified prior to the CBC and after it is completed. The Office of Human Resources will contact employees if a conviction or deferred adjudication is reported.

For more information, contact David Diaz at 210-458-5771.

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FAQs

  • Why conduct a CBC now if one was not conducted when I first joined UTSA? Prior to 2003 (for staff) and 2005 (for faculty), the University did not require a CBC to be conducted on new employees. The new policy, implemented by the University of Texas System, is more in line with employment policies at businesses and educational institutions throughout the country and will help UTSA best assure its stakeholders that we are doing what we can to maintain a safe and secure environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors.
  • What if I was arrested in the past? The CBC being conducted to meet this requirement will report only convictions and deferred adjudications within the State of Texas, not arrests.
  • What is a deferred adjudication? Deferred Adjudication is a form of a plea deal available in jurisdictions, where a defendant pleads "guilty" or "no contest" to criminal charges in exchange for meeting certain requirements laid out by the court within an allotted period of time also ordered by the court. Upon completion of the requirements, which may include probation, treatment, community service or some form of community supervision, the defendant may avoid a formal sentence or have their case dismissed.
  • What if I have a conviction or deferred adjudication for minor drug use in Texas in the past? The information obtained as part of the CBC will be provided to your respective vice president for review. You also may be contacted by HR to provide information.
  • You indicated that you will be using the Texas Department of Public Safety website and that anyone has access to it. What does that mean? For a minimal charge, anyone can obtain criminal information in the State of Texas if they have the person's name and date of birth since this information is considered public.
  • Don't I have to give you authorization to run the CBC? No, since we are obtaining conviction and deferred adjudication information only, which is available to the public, your authorization is not required.
  • Does this differ from the CBC information collected on applicants? Yes, with the applicant's written authorization, a third-party vendor runs a national CBC for the University, which identifies both arrests and convictions.
  • Will you tell me once you have completed the CBC? Yes, you will receive an e-mail from the UTSA Police Department.
  • How much advance notice will I receive prior to the University running the CBC? You will receive an e-mail, and the CBC may be run as soon as that same day, but within 3 months.
  • What if I refuse to have you run the CBC? There is no authorization required; again, the information is public.
  • If I have a conviction or deferred adjudication, will I automatically lose my job? An individual with a criminal record will not automatically be disqualified from employment or promotion. The information obtained as part of the CBC will be provided to your respective vice president for review and consideration on a case-by-case basis.