KU background checks
Topeka — By September, new employees at Kansas University and the five other state universities will be subject to criminal background checks before they are hired.
The new policy, approved Wednesday by the Kansas Board of Regents, is modeled after a one used for years at KU Medical Center. The policy discussion began after reports in news media, including a Journal-World investigation that discovered a number of convicted felons working in one KU department.
KU Provost Richard Lariviere was a dean at University of Texas-Austin when a similar system was launched.
"It caused considerable amount of angst from faculty and administrators when we implemented it, but ultimately it didn't cause any more difficulty in recruiting," he said.
The policy makes exceptions for student and temporary workers, but all other employees must undergo a background check, including a review of the sex offender registry.
At Pittsburg State and Fort Hays State universities, the issue of background checks may have to be part of negotiations with the faculty union.
"My bigger concern, though, is our international faculty and how we do background checks on people who aren't even in this country," Fort Hays President Ed Hammond said.
Regent Gary Sherrer said if universities encounter obstacles they cannot solve by September, adjustments could be made.
The regents also approved a new policy prohibiting weapons on campus, including these items: paintball guns, explosives or poison gas, longbows, crossbows and knives of more than four inches, unless designed for culinary purposes.