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The Missouri State University Board of Governors unanimously approved a proposal to require all recently hired full time faculty and staff members to undergo a full criminal background check before being hired. The Board approved the proposal Thursday afternoon at its last meeting of the semester.The background checks will begin July 1st 2007. KSMU's Joe Morgan was at the meeting and has more on the debate surrounding this issue.
Missouri State University President, Michael Nietzel says the ideas for background checks comes from a request back in September of 2006. He says it's not related to the recent resignation of a faculty member with a criminal record. Nietzel explained to the Board of Governors at Thursday's meeting exactly what the new policy entails.
Associate Professor and member of the Faculty Senate, Mark Richter spoke on behalf of Missouri State faculty and he says he feels this policy is a solution for a non-existent problem.
Richter says he feels there are bigger risks on campus than teachers harming students and the faculty believes there should be an extensive study conducted to explore the actual risks regarding this issue. Then, he says, there will be a better understanding of if the background checks are truly needed.
Board of Governors President, Michael Franks says that the additional information obtained in the background checks will ensure that supervisors will make better hiring decisions.
Nietzel says he feels it's reasonable to want to know if a future university employee is a felon especially if you are a parent of a Missouri State student. The price tag for this policy is roughly 30 to 50 thousand dollars per year. The board will consider whether or not to extend the policy to graduate assistants and teaching assistants in the future. For KSMU news, I'm Joe Morgan.