It’s graduation time at thousands of colleges and universities. Millions of students are ready to embark on their next stage in life – decorating their ceremonial cap.For inspiration, head here. Head. Get it?
These are our favorites.
One cap in particular, though, grabbed our attention because its school has been the center of attention this week – and not for its roster of outstanding grads.
A former Quinnipiac University student called in a couple of fake bomb threats in an attempt to cancel graduation ceremonies. She wasn’t graduating and was afraid to tell her family that she hadn’t been taking spring semester classes, even though her mom had given her money to do so.
Although Danielle Shea’s plan failed (she only managed to disrupt the ceremony and police and campus officials handled the resulting protocol properly), her scare tactic nonetheless highlights the need for stringent campus safety.
Stories without violent endings on college campuses, it seems, are rare these days.
For a look at the ten most violent acts committed on a college campus, click here.
Do Campuses Really Screen?
As we’ve said before, screening faculty, staff and students at higher education institutions is imperative.
We like to use this analogy: Background checks are like preventive medicine. They won’t stop a cancer from forming, but they will provide you the necessary information to make an informed decision. Plenty of higher education institutions have already implemented screening processed for faculty, staff and, even in some cases, students.
The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers conducted a survey on background checks at colleges in 2010. Sixty-six percent of respondents reported having some sort of method to collect criminal justice information on students. AACRAO also found that private and four-year institutions were more likely than public or two-year institutions to conduct some kind of screening.
So, the answer to our question is yes – college campuses do screen job candidates and students. But should more campuses do it? Yes. Should universities outsource this to a professional screening agency like Active Screening? Yes. Let us explain in three steps.
Not all background checks are created equal. Simply running a name through a generic criminal record database does not suffice. Would you send your son or daughter to a school who did this? Commercialized data like this doesn’t offer any guarantees that the information is correct or without gaps. They are ripe with errors, calling certain criminals ‘cleared’ or labeling innocent people as ‘criminals,’ because there is nobody – literally, no body – double-checking these results. At Active Screening, we have trained professionals who conduct 80% of our criminal record searches in-house. Our verification system ensures accurate results and validates (or doesn’t) candidate-provided information. The other 20% of our criminal record searches are performed by boots-on-the-ground representatives who go beyond industry standards and actually head into courthouses to get the latest documents.
We get compliance. Our Active Screening team knows every law and regulation about hiring and background screening so you don’t have to. The screening industry is rapid fire, changes happen all the time. Can you really expect a human resources department at a higher education institution with thousands, if not millions, of revolving names to keep up with these changes? It would tax even the most robust HR departments. We know EEOC. We know FCRA. We know drug testing. We know adverse action. Outsourcing your background screening needs is not only the smartest thing you can do for your staff and students, it’s also the most time and cost efficient.
We know social media (and its limitations). So everyone has a profile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo, Vine these days, right? That should provide you everything you need to know about a person, right? Wrong. So wrong. In fact, social media profiles may provide you with too much information that can be labeled discriminatory if you’re not careful. Pictures show a person’s gender and race. Profile information may disclose sexual orientation. Comments can present religion. All things, according to EEOC laws, you can’t take into consideration when hiring someone. But how will you prove you didn’t refer to these things if things turn sour? Additionally, it goes almost without saying that social media doesn’t provide all the information you need about candidates or applicants. Pre-screening or recruiting candidates using social media, for the most part, is fine. Treating social media as a thorough and professional background check is not. You’ll be on the hook for negligence if you think it is and something bad happens.
What are your top reasons for running background checks on college campuses? We’d love to hear them. Write your comments below and we’ll get a dialogue going!