Tag Archives: education

Background Checks of Players from Top 25 College Football Teams Reveal 7 Percent have Criminal Records

A six-month joint investigation by Sports Illustrated (SI) and CBS News that ran criminal background checks on nearly 3,000 players from the Top 25 ranked college football teams revealed that 7 percent of the players checked had criminal records, that only two of the schools performed background checks of their own, and that none of the schools checked juvenile records. Continue reading

Government Accountability Office Report Finds Sex Offenders Employed at K-12 Schools

By Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President & Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Editor

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report to the Chairman, Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives that revealed high rates of employees in all sorts of positions at both public and private schools – including teachers, volunteers, aides, support staff, and contractors – who had records of inappropriate sexual conduct and convictions for sex-related crimes.

The GAO report dated December 2010 – ‘K-12 EDUCATION – Selected Cases of Public and Private Schools That Hired or Retained Individuals with Histories of Sexual Misconduct’ – examined 15 cases that showed that individuals with histories of sexual misconduct were hired or retained by public and private schools as teachers, support staff, volunteers, and contractors. At least 11 of these 15 cases involved sex offenders who previously targeted children, and at least 6 cases involved offenders who used their new positions as school employees or volunteers to abuse more children.

The GAO report revealed that the following factors contributed to hiring or retention of sex offenders:

  • School officials allowed teachers who had engaged in sexual misconduct toward students to resign rather than face disciplinary action, often providing subsequent employers with positive references;
  • Schools did not perform pre-employment criminal history checks;
  • Even if schools did perform pre-employment criminal history checks, they may have been inadequate in that they were not national, fingerprint-based, or recurring; and
  • Schools failed to inquire into troubling information regarding criminal histories on employment applications.

Some examples of cases from around the United States that the GAO examined for the report include:

  • Ohio: A teacher forced to resign because of inappropriate conduct with female students received a letter of recommendation from the school superintendent calling him an “outstanding teacher.” After being subsequently hired at a neighboring district, he was convicted for sexual battery against a sixth grade girl.
  • Louisiana: A teacher and registered sex offender whose Texas teaching certificate had been revoked was hired by several Louisiana schools without receiving a criminal history check. A warrant is currently out for his arrest on charges of engaging in sexual conversations with a student at one of these schools.
  • Arizona: A school rushing to fill a position did not conduct a criminal history check before hiring a teacher who had been convicted for sexually abusing a minor, even though he disclosed on his application that he had committed a dangerous crime against a child. He was later convicted for having sexual contact with a young female student.
  • California: A sex offender was convicted for molesting a minor in 2000 and the school where he worked was aware of his conviction but did not fire him. After the GAO referred the case to the California Attorney General, officials placed the sex offender, who has since resigned, on administrative leave.

The GAO report also found no federal laws regulating the employment of sex offenders in public or private schools and varying laws at the state level. While some states required a national, fingerprint-based criminal history checks for school employment, others states did not. State laws also varied as to whether past convictions would result in termination from school employment, revocation of a teaching license, or refusal to hire.

GAO performed the study after a 2004 Department of Education report estimated that millions of students are subjected to sexual misconduct by a school employee at some time between kindergarten and the twelfth grade (K-12). GAO was asked to:

  • Examine the circumstances surrounding cases where K-12 schools hired or retained individuals with histories of sexual misconduct and determine the factors contributing to such employment actions and
  • Provide an overview of selected federal and state laws related to the employment of convicted sex offenders in K-12 schools.

To identify case studies, the GAO compared recent data in employment databases from 19 states and the District of Columbia to the National Sex Offender Registry and also searched public records to identify cases where sexual misconduct by school employees resulted in a criminal conviction. GAO ultimately selected 15 cases from 11 states for further investigation.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a leading background check provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) performs sexual offender searches as well as criminal record searches around the United States supplemented by a national multi-jurisdictional search. Although no one search is perfect, ESR recommends a series of overlapping tools that must also include checking professional licenses and verifying past employment, especially looking for unexplained gaps in employment where an offender may try to hide past negative information.

For more information on background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Source:
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11200.pdf

Colleges and Universities Learning to Avoid Mistakes with Higher Education Background Checks

By Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President

Institutions of higher education such as colleges and universities bear the same risk as other employers when it comes to hiring employees. Due diligence in hiring, including employment screening background checks, is critical for any organization seeking to avoid workplace violence, negligent hiring lawsuits, or any repercussions from hiring employees with unsuitable criminal records or false academic credentials.

Since colleges and universities have a higher duty of care when it comes to hiring given their special role in society to provide a safe place of learning for young people, these institutes should avoid the ten biggest mistakes that higher education Human Resources (HR) professionals make in the area of background screening of staff members:

  • No. 1 – Assuming all screening firms are the same

The mistake of assuming all background screening firms are the same is like saying that all schools are the same and a fake degree from a “diploma mill’ is as good as a degree from a school with a legitimate accreditation. In selecting a background screening firm, higher education HR professionals need to make sure the firm belongs to the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and if it is accredited by the NAPBS Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). Higher education HR professionals may also want to see if a background screening firm – also referred to as a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) – is a member of ConcernedCRAs and demonstrates a commitment not to “offshore” job applicant personal data overseas beyond U.S. laws.

  • No. 2 – Assuming database searches for criminal records are adequate protection

One of the biggest fallacies is the untrue premise that database searches are real criminal background checks. Even Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) database searches using fingerprints of job applicants can result in missed records since it relies in great part upon the accuracy and timeliness of reports made by state and local jurisdictions. Commercial privately assembled multi-jurisdictional commercial databases used by higher education HR departments can be full of holes since they are a crazy quilt of information complied from a variety of sources with no guarantee that the data is complete, updated, timely, or accurate. Large swaths of the country are not included in these databases and they are subject to both “false positives” and “false negatives,” meaning that criminals can come back as “cleared” and innocent job applicants can be falsely labeled as criminals.

  • No. 3 – Assuming a job applicant’s privacy is protected and personal information is kept within United States borders

Many background firms ship personal data of job applicants such as names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers (SSNs) outside of the U.S. for processing in order to save money. In recent years, there has been a substantial effort in the U.S. to protect what has come to be known as “Personally Identifiable Information” or PII. Unfortunately, these protections cease to exist as a practical matter once PII leaves the U.S. The lack of any meaningful protection once data is “offshored” is a major gap in the effort to combat identity theft. When identity theft occurs in the U.S., legal protections, resources, laws, and mechanisms help victims. Once data goes offshore, that protection dissipates rapidly. A reputable background screening firm should believe that risking PII to make more money is not justified by the potential damage to the consumer and the potential liability to the educational institution.

  • No. 4 – Assuming you need to have applicants sign a physical piece of paper

There is a “green” solution to the significant logistical challenges faced by institutions of higher learning that are hiring across numerous departments of large campuses, or even across multiple campuses. With the new technology available right now, background screening can be performed by a completely paperless system.  For example, if a school uses an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), a button can be added that says “Perform Background Check.”  Releases can be handled online as well with a legally valid E-Sign electronic signature, so that no paperwork is involved whatsoever.

  • No. 5 – Assuming temporary employees have already been screened by staffing firms

When a staffing firm uses the term “screening,” it may simply mean they are trying to match up applicants with your list of needs – not that they are performing due diligence background checks. It is crucial for higher education HR professionals to have staffing firms clearly specify what types of background checks they are doing, if any, including: who is ordering them, what searches are being conducted, who is reviewing reports, and what criteria is being used to decide who is eligible to work. Another best practice is to ask the staffing firm to include the school, college, or university in the language of the background release so that the HR professional can review the completed reports as well. Even though the worker is on the staffing firm payroll, a college or university can still be considered a “co-employer” and be on the hook for any crimes or misconduct.

  • No. 6 – Assuming that contacting past employers is not beneficial

Not checking those businesses or institutions where the applicant has worked for the past seven-to-ten years can be a big mistake for higher education HR professionals. Some HR professionals assume that since past employers are reluctant to give reference information that such calls provide little value. But there are many instances where past employment verifications can be just as valuable as a criminal records search. These include verifying dates of employment and job titles, confirming a job applicant’s whereabouts for the past seven to ten years, making certain there are no “unexplained gaps” in employment, and determining which jurisdictions to search for criminal records.

  • No. 7 – Assuming international background checks are too difficult

With the increased mobility of workers across international borders it is no longer adequate to conduct due diligence checks just in the United States. Based on the ‘Place of Birth of the Foreign-Born Population: 2009’ report issued in October 2010 by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 38.5 million foreign-born U.S. residents, representing 12.5 percent of the population. In addition, an increasing number of workers have spent a significant part of their professional career abroad. Because of the perceived difficulty in performing international employment screening, some employers have not attempted to verify international credentials or to perform foreign criminal checks. However, the mere fact that information may be more difficult and expensive to obtain from outside the U.S. does not relieve employers such as colleges and universities of due diligence obligations.

  • No 8 – Assuming “one size fits all” for background checks

While HR processionals live by the rule that similarly situated people must be treated in a similar fashion, that does not mean all employees must undergo the same background check. It is perfectly acceptable to screen CEOs more intensely than janitors, as long as all CEOs are screened the same and all janitors are screened the same. The typical rule is that a higher degree of risk justifies, and may require, a higher level of background check. In considering the level of background screening, higher education HR professionals need to weigh the potential risks of the position. Examples of positions with of greater risk include workers with access to: student dorm rooms; personal or financial data; vulnerable groups such as the aged, young, or infirmed; and uniforms that may allow them to act under color of official authority.

  • No. 9 – Assuming the Internet and social networking sites can be used without limitations

Many employers have discovered that the internet can provide what appears to be a treasure trove of information when it comes to recruiting and hiring. By using search engines and social networking sites, recruiters are often able to source candidates for positions and use the Internet to pre-screen job applicants. However, in using the Internet for background screening, employers can uncover “TMI” or “Too Much Information” that reveals prohibited information such as ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religious preference, or other factors that cannot be considered for employment. Social network sites such as Facebook may contain a photo that reveals personal characteristics or physical problems and raise questions of discrimination as well. Other concerns with using the internet for background screening include issues of privacy, off-duty conduct, and “cyperslamming” where defamatory material is placed anonymously online. Some schools now have a policy of requiring employers to reveal whether they do such online searches as a condition for recruiting at the school. One alternative is to get specific consent from applicants for an online search, and only after a conditional job offer.

  • No. 10 – Assuming it costs too much to do real due diligence

Although cost is an important factor in business, it is usually not advisable to choose the cheapest provider for any professional service since, as the old saying goes: “You get what you pay for.” It is especially true for an information-based and heavily regulated industry like background screening. Key criteria for selecting a background screening firm should be knowledge, training, experience, and privacy policies – not cost-cutting.

For more information on background checks in general, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen and is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) . To learn more about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

Sources:
http://www.esrcheck.com/higher_education_background_checks-common_mistakes.php

Routine Background Check Uncovers Fake Doctor in Michigan

By Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President & Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Editor

An article titled ‘Fake Michigan doctor had hospitals fooled’ by the Detroit Free Press shows why employers should run background checks that include education and credential verifications on medical professionals to ensure they are licensed after a 15-year charade in which a man passed himself off as a doctor ended with a routine background check.

A 58-year-old “doctor and PhD researcher” in Michigan who lined up millions of dollars in research grants and consulting fees directing simulated medical exercises to train hospital staffers resigned after being uncovered as a fraud when calls to the University of Wisconsin confirmed the man had simulated a few facts about himself, the Free Press reports.

The ruse had hospital administrators wondering how a person with no medical or doctoral degree could have fooled some of the best in medicine for so long. After billing himself as a doctor, researcher, and certified pilot – with only the latter being true – the falsifications were revealed during a routine background check on a federal grant application.

The Free Press reports that for some reason the phony doctor’s résumé with false references was not vetted by either medical administration or human resources departments at the hospital, and the embarrassing episode has prompted tighter scrutiny of applications. Fortunately, the fake doctor never treated patients and did not apply for physician admitting privileges.

A medical ethicist at Michigan State University quoted in the article said the case shows that medical and academic institutions should follow the rules that should in place to catch possible falsifications. “Always check credentials. There’s just no excuse for not checking credentials. It’s kind of a no-brainer.”

This story – and other such stories about phony professionals falsifying employment histories or education credentials – shows the need for employers to run background checks on all professionals since they cannot simply assume they are licensed.

As reported earlier on ESR News, education and credential falsification is a surprisingly common occurrence, and a rapidly growing problem, as evidenced by the following stories:

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a leading provider of background checks accredited by the National Association of Background Screeners (NAPBS) – offers background screening that include verifications of credentials and education. ESR has extensive procedures to ensure that any school is legitimate and not a so-called “diploma mill” (also known as a “degree mill”), an organization that awards academic degrees and diplomas with substandard or no academic study and without recognition by official educational accrediting bodies. The terms “diploma mill” and “degree mill” may apply to:

  • A “real” degree from a fake college.
  • A fake degree from a real college.

ESR also has a wealth of material on the subject of academic fraud including an article by ESR’s founder and President Lester Rosen, “The Basics of Educational Verifications” at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/1090/the-basics-of-education-verifications. In addition, the Additional Links page in the ESR Resource Center contains information on states with lists of fraudulent schools as well as how to find real accredited schools at: http://www.esrcheck.com/services/resources.php.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). ESR was the third U.S. background check firm to be ‘Safe Harbor’ Certified for data privacy protection. To learn more about ESR’s Leadership, Resources, and Solutions, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

Source:
http://www.freep.com/article/20101214/NEWS06/12140350/1318/-Fake-doc-had-hospitals-fooled

Background Checks Help Avoid Fraudulent Academic Claims

By Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President & Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Editor

An interesting story about an alleged fraudulent academic claim serves to remind all employers, including academic institutions, how a simple background check can help uncover education fraud.

According to a news release from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), after discovering that an instructor who taught workshops on human trafficking and counterterrorism misrepresented his academic credentials to the Institute, the MIIS is taking steps to ensure a similar case does not occur again by requiring that anyone teaching a course for credit to undergo a background check, effective immediately.

The instructor – who has not responded to requests from MIIS to provide supporting documentation – claimed in a resume and biography submitted to the Institute to be “a retired colonel of the U.S. Army Special Forces” who earned a Ph.D. at the University of Oregon. However, the Institute’s review found the instructor had not earned a Ph.D. at the University of Oregon, and was unable to obtain military records that substantiated the military service claims, MIIS officials stated in the news release.

Because the instructor served only as an independent contractor and never applied for a position as a faculty member at the Institute, he was not subjected to the pre-employment background checks MIIS requires of all employees, including faculty and adjunct faculty. As a result of this incident, effective immediately, MISS has changed its policy and extended the requirement for a full “pre-engagement” background check to any person who provides classroom instruction for academic credit, regardless of employment status.

Located in Monterey, California, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a graduate school of Middlebury College, has prepared graduate professionals for global careers in the private, public, nonprofit, and educational sectors since 1955. For more information about the Monterey Institute, visit http://www.miis.edu.

Background checks that include verifications of education can help employers avoid hiring job applicants that make fraudulent academic claims. This case demonstrates how a failure to run an academic verification during a background check can allow a fraudulent claim of education to fall through the cracks. A simple phone call would have prevented this. 

Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a nationwide provider of background checks that include education verifications, has extensive procedures to ensure that any school is legitimate and not a so-called “diploma mill” (also known as a “degree mill”), an organization that awards academic degrees and diplomas with substandard or no academic study and without recognition by official educational accrediting bodies. The terms “diploma mill” and “degree mill” may apply to:

  • A “real” degree from a fake college.
  • A fake degree from a real college.

ESR also has a wealth of material on the subject of academic fraud including an article by ESR’s founder and President Lester Rosen, “The Basics of Educational Verifications,” at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/1090/the-basics-of-education-verifications. In addition, the ESR Resource Center contains information on states with lists of fraudulent schools as well as how to find real accredited schools at: http://www.esrcheck.com/services/resources.php.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations and Business Development, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

Source:
http://www.miis.edu/media/view/21940/original/2010-1120_bill_hillar_release.pdf

Contract Worker Arrested for Disorderly Conduct after Incident at Elementary School in South Carolina

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

A story from Greenwood County, South Carolina shows why background checks should be run on all workers with access to schools, including contractors and sub-contractors, and not just full time employees.

According to a report on the News Channel 7 website at WSPA.com, a contract worker at a Greenwood County, S.C. school was arrested for disorderly conduct when he allegedly yelled and cursed at police after students complained about his behavior. According to a police report, students at the school claimed the accused man made sexual gestures and asked the children to give him a hug.

The 22-year-old man – a subcontractor working at the school – was charged with public disorderly conduct for allegedly cursing at deputies and school officials while they kicked him off campus.

In their report, News Channel 7 learned that, according to a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) background check, the man had been accused with sexual misconduct with a child under the age of 16 and sexual misconduct with a child under the age of 11. Although not convicted on those charges, the man had been convicted of aggravated assault.

Contract workers at schools in South Carolina are not required to submit to any kind of background checks since they are not employed by the state.

However, there are background check rules in place for school workers, according to information provided by the South Carolina Department of Education:

  • All school employees must have a SLED check.
  • Teachers and other certified positions must have SLED and FBI fingerprint checks done.
  • Volunteers must be checked on sexual predator web site.
  • Contract workers are not required to submit to any sort of background since they are not employed by the state.

To ensure a safe workplace (which can include schools), employers following best practices guidelines should run background checks on all employees – from full-time to part-time and from contractors to sub-contractors.

For more information on background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. ESR is recognized as Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Source:
http://www2.wspa.com/news/2010/oct/28/6/contract-workers-accused-trying-lure-students-ar-1023276/

Ohio Supreme Court Rules School Employees with Criminal Pasts Revealed in Background Checks can Be Fired

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a state law that requires the dismissal of school employees with serious criminal convictions in their pasts, according to a story from The Plain Dealer on Cleveland.com.

The Ohio Supreme court said in issuing a 5-2 decision that the law can continue to be applied to employees or applicants whose criminal history is revealed through background checks.

Eight months after the law took effect prohibiting districts from employing people with felony convictions after November 14, 2007, a background check on an unnamed Cincinnati school district employee (named “John Doe” in the ensuing lawsuit) turned up a drug-trafficking conviction from 1976. Doe was fired, as the law mandated, even though the conviction occurred 21 years before he was initially hired by the school district, the Plain Dealer reports.

The new law had extended the background check requirement to non-teaching school employees like secretaries, janitors and mechanics whereas only teachers had to pass background checks previously. 

The fired man, Doe, brought a suit challenging the law, arguing that the law was unconstitutionally retroactive since it was based on his conduct before he was employed by the district, but the law prohibited districts from employing people with felony convictions after November 14, 2007, and the “disqualifying background check” happened after that date. A summary of the court’s decision can be viewed at: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/PIO/summaries/2010/1026/092104.asp.

The Ohio Department of Education has since issued more specific rules outlining how the law should be enforced, including considering crimes that happened more than 10 years in the past showing rehabilitation and leaving the decision up to the district.

The Plain Dealer also reports that twenty-three employees of the Cleveland school district lost their jobs because of the law, according to a spokeswoman.

For more information about pre-employment background checks, please visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. ESR is recognized as Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Sources:
http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/10/ohio_supreme_court_rules_schoo.html
http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/PIO/summaries/2010/1026/092104.asp

Former Texas A & M Administrator Charged with Fraudulent or Fictitious Degree for Allegedly Lying on Resume and Job Application

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

The Brazos County (TX) Attorney has filed formal charges against a former top-level Texas A&M Administrator after a background check found he allegedly lied on his resume and job application documents about his degrees and military service.

According to a report on KBTX.com Channel 3 serving Bryan and College Station Texas, the former Senior Vice President for Administration at Texas A&M was charged with Fraudulent or Fictitious Degree, a Class “B” Misdemeanor that carries a fine up to $2,000 and six months in jail.

In June, the accused resigned from his position following a background check of his credentials that revealed he had allegedly lied on his resume and job application by stating he was a Navy SEAL and had a master’s or doctorate degree from Tufts University. A plea hearing is set for November 10th, according to court documents.

Resume fraud is a growing problem, especially during the recent down economy, as people struggle to find work and are willing to do anything – including lie about their experience and education – to find a job. A 2003 study conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that over half (53 percent) of all job applications contained inaccurate information, a figure that is likely higher given the current economic climate.

For more information on background checks and education and employment verifications, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Source:
http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/Charges_Filed_Against_AM_Administrator_105111684.html

More Colleges and Universities Considering Student Background Checks

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR news Staff Writer

In an effort to help ensure campus safety, higher educational institutions across the country are starting to consider conducting criminal background checks on both applicants and admitted students, according to a recent article on USAToday.com.

As an example, USAToday.com reports that following the murder of a student at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2004 by a classmate with a history of violence against women — and the subsequent lawsuit filed by the deceased student’s parents — the North Carolina system began requiring all of its campuses to conduct criminal background checks on students with red flags on their criminal records.

However, a panel discussion at the National Association of College and University Attorneys revealed that the questions of whether to conduct student background checks — and how to — are not resolved and that criminal background checks on applicants and students can be described as a “legal and policy jigsaw puzzle with pieces that include campus safety, legal risk, and individual rights, according to the USAToday report.

The article cites a recent survey by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) in which 66% of educational institutions reported having collected criminal record information from students, with the most common method of getting criminal information being self-disclosure questions on applications. Yet of the 144 institutions that reported collecting criminal justice information from applicants, only ten used criminal background checks, USAToday.com reported.

Higher education institutions in North Carolina are not alone in considering student background checks. Both Maryland and Virginia are considering requiring colleges and universities to conduct background checks on students in the wake of a murder of a female student at the University of Virginia allegedly at the hands of a fellow student.

For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.esrcheck.com.

Source:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2010-07-01-IHE-college-applicants-criminal-background-checks01_ST_N.htm

Unrecognized, Fake and Dubious Online College Accrediting Agencies

As mentioned in earlier blogs by Employment Screening Resources (ESR), diploma mills and degree mills have created fake accreditation agencies to try to make fake degrees legitimate. According to one source, the following represents a listing of 30- plus agencies that employers may want to look at in more detail. This list is reprinted with the kind permission of http://www.geteducated.com which is responsible for its content:

Here is a list of 30-plus agencies that claim to accredit a variety of online and distance learning college degree programs.

NONE of these accrediting agencies are recognized as college accreditors in the U.S. by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education. As such, colleges claiming ‘accreditation’ by these agencies are not widely accepted as valid providers of higher education online and should be approached with great caution if online college credibility is important to you.

  • Accreditation Council for Distance Education (ACTDE)
  • Accreditation Panel for Online Colleges and Universities (APTEC)
  • Accrediting Commission International (ACI)
  • American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions
  • American Council of Private Colleges and Universities
  • American Association of Drugless Practitioners (ADP)
  • Association of Accredited Bible Schools
  • Association of Distance Learning Programs (ADLP)
  • Association of Private Colleges and Universities
  • Association for Online Academic Accreditation
  • Association for Online Excellence
  • Association for Online Academic Excellence
  • Board of Online Universities Accreditation (BOUA)
  • Council for Distance Education
  • Council of Online Higher Education
  • Central States Consortium of Colleges & Schools
  • International Commission for Higher Education
  • International Accreditation Agency for Online Universities (IAAOU)
  • International Accreditation Association for Online Education (IAAFOE)
  • International Accreditation Organization (IAO)
  • International Education Ministry Accreditation Association
  • International Online Education Accrediting Board (IOEAB)
  • National Academy of Higher Education
  • National Board of Education (NBOE)
  • National College Accreditation Council
  • National Commission of Accredited Schools
  • National Distance Learning Accreditation Council (NDLAC)
  • New Millenium Accrediting Partnership for Educators Worldwide
  • Organization for Online Learning Accreditation (OKOLA)
  • Transworld Accrediting Commission Intl. (TAC)
  • Universal Council for Online Education Accreditation (UCOEA)
  • United Nations Council
  • United States Distance Education & Training Council of Nevada (NOTE: A similarly titled agency, the Distance Education & Training Council (DETC), of Washington, D.C. – http://www.detc.org – is a VALID and RECOGNIZED online learning accreditation agency)
  • World Association for Online Education
  • World Association of Universities and Colleges (WAUC)
  • World Online Education Accrediting Commission (WOEAC)
  • World-Wide Accreditation Commission of Christian Educational Institutions (WWAC) 

Source: GetEducated.com, a consumer advocacy group that reviews, rates
and ranks screened, accredited online universities: 
http://www.geteducated.com/online-degrees-credibility-employer-perception/204-unrecognized-fake-and-dubious-online-college-accrediting-agencies/

More information on this topic is available at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unrecognized_accreditation_associations_of_higher_learning