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Part 6. Student Affairs

Section IV. Classroom

O. Criminal Background Checks

1. Purpose
For a variety of reasons, students enrolled in University programs, especially those programs requiring off-campus field-based assignments such as student teaching, internships, or clinical rotations, may be required to submit to a criminal background check prior to their assignment. Some programs may also require background checks at the time of program admission. However, a background check as a condition of admission is not a general University requirement. Program specific requirements and applicable procedures will be available through the appropriate department or program. Programmatic admissions, field experience, and clinical placement decisions resulting from a criminal background check will not ordinarily preclude a student's general admission to the University or affect the student's general status with the University. However, failure of any portion of a program's required checks may be the basis for barring the student from completion of that specialized program, or from admission to the same, depending on the findings and based upon the program's requirements.

The University's implementation of background checks for students is primarily in response to various affiliates'/agencies' requirements for accepting ISU students for practical on-site experience. These affiliates/agencies include, but are not limited to, schools, clinics, hospitals, health facilities, pharmacies, and law enforcement training facilities. If a clinical site or other organization requires the checks prior to accepting ISU students, the University must comply. Some local and regional affiliates/agencies require that these background checks be completed by their facilities, under their own procedures and at their own expense; while others complete the check through their facility but at the individual student's expense; still others require that the University conduct the background check at the student's expense.

University programs which require background checks as a condition of admission or acceptance for field-based experience, may do so because:

o students have significant interaction with minors,
o slots in the programs are limited, and/or
o students who cannot successfully complete a background check may not, in some instances, be eligible for licensure, certification, or employment upon graduation.

Students in such programs are conditionally admitted until successful completion of a criminal background check. Full admission status is assigned upon successful completion of the background check.

Public Safety is designated as the final repository of the official criminal background checks and records requests for release, copies, etc. should be directed to that office in writing. Students will be required to sign a consent for release of their background checks in order for the information to be released to non-University entities.

In order to be accepted into certain affiliates/agencies for internships and externships students may also be required by such affiliates/agencies to submit to additional checks including, but not limited to, drug screens, Social Security number trace for previous residencies, employment checks, Office of Inspector General (OIG) Sanctions List, General Services Administration's Excluded Parties Listing System (GSA/EPLS), violent sex offender and predator registry search, applicable state exclusion list, US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the list of specifically designated nationals. Whether such additional checks will be required and the procedures for conducting the same, will be the sole responsibility of the affiliates/agencies requiring them. The University does not conduct such additional checks unless specifically agreed to by the particular program.

2. Definitions

a. Field experience - For purposes of this policy field experience means a placement in an agency with an educational setting, for example, student teaching for College of Education students.

b. Clinical site/affiliate - An affiliate who, by agreement with ISU, provides clinical education experiences for ISU students.

c. Conditional admission - Students in certain programs are conditionally admitted until successful completion of a criminal background check. Full admission status is assigned upon successful completion of the check.

d. Public Safety - ISU Public Safety.

e. Criminal Background Check - A student's criminal history is obtained by sending his/her fingerprints to the state CIB and to the FBI. Background checks include the State of Idaho and the nation.

f. CIB - The state Criminal Information Bureau.

3. Scope

This policy applies to all undergraduate and graduate students in programs that are required by conditional admission, field experience, clinical affiliation, law and/or rule to complete a background check including, but not limited to, the Kasiska College of Health Professions, College of Pharmacy, College of Technology, and College of Education.

4. Policy

a. Conditional Admissions or Field Experience

(1) Some University programs may require a criminal background check as part of conditional admission to a program or prior to any field-based experience.

(2) For such programs, background checks will be performed only after the applicant has received notice of conditional admission or field-based experience.

(3) Full admission to a program and field placement are contingent upon satisfactory results of a criminal background check. Refusal to provide consent for a criminal background investigation will result in denial of admission or field experience placement.

b. Clinical Placement

(1) If a program does not require a background check for conditional admission, a background check may still be required prior to commencement of the student's clinical education placement.

(2) Students may not request to be assigned only to those clinical sites that do not require a criminal background check. Students who refuse performance of a background check may not be able to be placed at another facility and therefore may not be able to complete the program requirements.

c. Admissions, Field Experience, and Clinical Placement; Dismissal

(1) Criminal background information released to a program will be used only for purposes of assisting in making programmatic decisions.

(2) If a background check identifies issues that may preclude admission, field experience, or clinical placement, the case will be referred to the dean for review and action. The student may seek a review of the dean's decision by a standing committee of three (3) faculty. Such committee shall include two (2) faculty members from the student's college and one (1) faculty member from another college. The committee will be appointed by the University's Vice President for Academic Affairs. The decision of the committee will be final. This procedure will supersede any other University or student appeal process.

(3) If a background check identifies issues that the applicant considers inaccurate or incomplete, these concerns or issues must be addressed by the applicant, to the State Criminal Information Bureau for resolution. (See Idaho Code § 67-3007.)

(4) Licensure. If licensure is a requirement to practice a profession and there are questions as to whether a student's criminal history, if any, will prevent or restrict his/her ability to obtain a license in a particular profession, the student should discuss the matter with the appropriate licensing agency or board, preferably prior to application to the program.

5. Procedure

a. Students should check with the appropriate department or program to determine which of the following procedures applies to their program and for more specific requirements.

(1) Conditional Admission. Applicants will be informed at the time application materials are sent to them that a criminal background check will be required if the decision is made to admit the applicant. Conditional admission will be given with the understanding that the applicant will agree to the release of information from his/her criminal background results to the program. If a student has been conditionally admitted to a program, they will be required to successfully complete a criminal background check in order to be fully admitted to the program. A criminal background check that reveals a conviction of a felony or other serious offense(s) that would likely prevent or restrict the student's ability to obtain a license in the field of study may result in the revocation of the student's admission.

(2) Clinical Education. If the criminal background check is not conducted in conjunction with admission, students may still be required to successfully complete a criminal background check prior to placement in off-campus sites for clinical training. Conviction of a felony or other serious offense may result in a student being denied a clinical assignment, and consequently, dismissal from the program. However, as noted in Subsection 5.e., the acceptance or rejection of a student for a clinical assignment based upon the criminal background check is ultimately a decision of the officials of the clinical site.

(3) Field-Based Experience. Contact the College of Education for its specific procedures.

(4) Waiver/Consent. Students who are conditionally admitted, or who are applying for clinical placement, or field experience will need to submit to their programs an Informed Consent/Release Form and other relevant information to complete a criminal background investigation. (Informed Consent/Release Form)

b. Obtaining a Criminal Background Check

(1) For programs requiring background checks at the admissions or field experience stage, the background check must be initiated by the student as part of the routine conditional admission or field experience process. The letter notifying the student of conditional admission or field experience will indicate the due date for relevant documentation to be returned to the applicable program. Failure to submit materials by the appropriate date may result in denial of admission or field experience.

(2) Unless otherwise directed by statute, regulation, or specific program and clinical site requirements, criminal background checks for admission, field experience and clinical placement must be obtained through the ISU Public Safety Office who will receive information from the State Criminal Information Bureau, (CIB) and ordinarily consists of both a state of Idaho and a national (FBI) criminal background check. Background check forms are available at Public Safety.

(3) All expenses associated with the background check are the sole responsibility of the requesting student.

(4) The Conditional Admission, Field Experience, or Clinical Placement Informed Consent/Release of Criminal Background Investigation form must be signed and returned to the applicable program by the requesting student and presented to Public Safety at the commencement of the criminal background check process. (Informed Consent/Release Form)

c. Convictions

(1) If an applicant truthfully discloses conviction(s) on the application for admission, field experience, or clinical placement, an evaluation of each conviction will be made before admission, field experience, or clinical placement is granted.

(2) The existence of a conviction does not automatically disqualify an individual from admission, field experience, or clinical placement. Relevant considerations may include, but are not limited to, the date, nature and number of convictions; the relationship the conviction bears to the duties and responsibilities of the profession; and successful efforts toward rehabilitation. Any final decision to reject or accept an applicant with a conviction is solely at the discretion of the appropriate dean or in the case of clinical placement, the clinical affiliate. Any review will be in accordance with 4.c(2).

(3) Failure to disclose all previous convictions other than minor traffic convictions will be considered falsification of records and may be grounds for denying admission, field experience, or placement.

(4) If the University becomes aware that a current student has not completed the application truthfully, he/she may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from that Program.

(5) The following criminal histories may disqualify an individual for consideration for program admission, field experience, or clinical placement:

(a) felony convictions;

(b) misdemeanor convictions, finding of guilt, withheld judgments, suspended sentences, or felony finding of guilt, withheld judgments or suspended sentences involving crimes against persons (including but not limited to physical or sexual abuse such as lewd conduct, sexual battery, sexual exploitation, rape, statutory rape);

(c) felony convictions, findings of guilt, suspended sentences or withheld judgments for the sale, possession, distribution, or transfer of narcotics, controlled substances, or simulated controlled substances;

(d) guilty plea or finding of guilt of involuntary manslaughter;

(e) registered sex offenders.

(6) For purposes of this policy, the term "conviction" will be interpreted broadly and will include pleas of no contest, withheld judgments, suspended sentences, and similar dispositions. If a criminal history report indicates pending criminal charges that, if a conviction resulted, would result in exclusion from admission, field experience, or clinical placement, the candidate may be excluded from admission, field experience, or clinical placement pending the final disposition of the charges.

d. Results

(1) Confidentiality. Efforts will be made to ensure that results of criminal background checks are kept confidential with the number of persons authorized to review results limited on a need to know basis.

(2) Access to Results. Public safety provides the results to the program director. The program director and/or clinical facility will review all criminal background checks. If the results contain adverse information deemed to be relevant to the applicant's suitability for his or her program, the program director will notify the applicant in writing and will refer the report to the dean. The dean will make any final decisions relative to conditional admission or field experience and the clinical affiliate will make a final decision on clinical placements. Results may be reviewed, as appropriate, by the professional staffs, (excluding student employees), of the Program, Department, clinical affiliates, Public Safety, and the General Counsel.

(3) Information Available Through Background Checks. If the check reveals information that could be relevant to a student's status in the program, the program may request additional information from the applicant. If the check reveals anything more than minor traffic convictions, it shall be forwarded to the dean and/or clinical/field facility.

(4) Ability of Applicant to Review Information. The applicant may review the criminal background check records received by the University by submitting a request in writing to Public Safety.

(5) Right to Respond to Adverse Report. The applicant will be asked to review any adverse information and to provide a written response to the program. When appropriate, the applicant may be asked to meet with the dean or clinical/field coordinator in person to answer questions.

(6) Right to Change and/or Terminate Policy. Reasonable efforts will be made to keep applicants informed of any changes in the policy. However, the University reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to amend, replace, and/or terminate this policy at any time.

e. Clinical or field affiliates/agencies usually have the discretion to determine whether a student's background is acceptable and that the student may participate according to the affiliates'/agencies policies. Affiliates/agencies will notify the University of the acceptance or denial of a placement and/or requests for removal of students from such facility. Such a determination will be independent from any determination by the University regarding the student's admission or progression in the clinical or practical sequence. Further action may be taken by the University.

f. Since background checks may be done at different times during a program, additional or updated background checks may be required prior to the commencement of the clinical or field training portion of the programs. With the student's written consent, his/her background check may be released to more than one facility in order to reduce the number of background checks required of such student.

g. Students will be afforded notice and the opportunity to be heard prior to any program's action or dismissal in accordance with Subsection 4.c(2). Notwithstanding any other University or student appeal process, the procedure set forth in Subsection 4.c(2) shall be the exclusive and final procedure available to the student. However, if the student is challenging the accuracy or completeness of the criminal background records provided by the CIB, a final decision regarding the student's status will be delayed pending the results of the challenge. [See Subsection 4.c(3)]

h. Retention. Individual background checks will be kept by Public Safety in accordance with ISU Records Management Policy.

All other records, regardless of location, will be managed in accordance with ISU Records Management Policy. Such records include, but are not limited to, Deans' and Department evaluations and final decision records.

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