Since the Penn State football scandal, colleges and universities have increasingly expanded or implemented new background screening policies designed to better protect the people on their campuses. Most recently, this week the GW Hatchet reported that next year George Washington University will begin screening top faculty candidates for sexual offenses and major criminal charges. They will also be screened to make sure their social security numbers are valid.
The school already conducts background screening on approximately a thousand staff hires each year, and also examines faculty candidates’ employment history and credentials.
According to the article, the University’s Provost, Steve Lerman, told the Faculty Senate that since 2010 when he arrived at George Washington, he has terminated faculty members after learning about past sexual offenses. He stated, “Had we done the check, most people would have agreed we never should have hired that individual.”
The new policy will be monitored by the Faculty Senate’s executive committee, and another committee would be formed to study how the background checks would affect faculty.
George Washington University is one of many schools examining their background screening policies and expanding them. While nothing can completely guarantee safety, the university has demonstrated its commitment to providing safer campus for all who use it.