New legislation in Tennessee approved by legislators as an amendment to Senate Bill 1648/House Bill 1951 will require background checks for college resident assistants (RAs), according to a news report on the website. Under the new law, which takes effect July 1, 2011, people who would have access to student rooms will undergo background checks before they are hired.

The legislation creating the law requiring background checks for people working at housing facilities for public schools of higher education was sought by the mother of a student at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga after she learned a resident assistant at the school had past convictions and checks of criminal histories were not required.

As reported earlier on the Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog ‘Tennessee Mother Wants Law Requiring Background Checks on College Resident Assistants,’ a former college resident assistant at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga – who was previously convicted on charges that included burglary, arson, harassment, and stalking – was arrested by police and accused of hiding surveillance cameras in the dorm rooms of the woman’s daughter and several other students.

College students with criminal records are not uncommon, as revealed by another ESR News blog – ‘Background Checks of Players from Top 25 College Football Teams Reveal 7 Percent have Criminal Records’ – involving a joint investigation by Sports Illustrated (SI) and CBS News. SI and CBS News ran criminal background checks on nearly 3,000 players from top ranked college football teams and found that 7 percent of the players had criminal records and only two of the schools performed background checks.

For more information about background checks, visit the Employment Screening Resources (ESR) website at

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR): Founded in 1997 in the San Francisco Bay area with a mission to help employers and employees maintain safe workplaces, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by founder and President Lester Rosen. For more information about ESR, visit or email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at [email protected].