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Background checks to be required for university job applicants

Criminal background checks will soon be required for anyone
who wants a job teaching at the state’s public colleges and universities.

The State Board of Regents approved the policy during its
meeting at Snow CollegeGarland
who sponsored legislation requiring the background checks.
in Ephraim on Friday. “We want safe universities,” said Rep. Ronda
Menlove, a Republican from

Applicant for a position in a university or college that
involves students under age 21, or a position that is security sensitive, such
as dealing with finances will be required to have a background check as a
condition of employment.

The background checks will be phased in over the next two

A total of $728,000 was appropriated by the Legislature to
begin the program. Ongoing funds of $58,700 are slated annually thereafter. The
bill requires universities and colleges to pay for the background checks, but
also allows the cost to be passed on to the applicant if the school chooses.
Committee member Rick Brown, chief of public safety at Southern Utah University
in Cedar City,
says he believes the background search could cost about $20 to $30 per person.
Menlove cited an incident at Penn State
University as a reason to require
background checks. A professor there was employed for years before the school
discovered he had been convicted of murder as a teen.

Menlove also points to the fact that many students are graduating early from high school and heading to college. Further, she said, the number of high school students coming onto college campuses for concurrent enrollment classes continues to climb. The number increased from 19,700 in 1998 to 27,000 students in 2006, according to the State Office of Higher Education.

Information from: Standard-Examiner

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