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UIUC AAUP Statement on Criminal Background Checks

American Association of University Professors (AAUP) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Chapter October 19, 2015

Whereas, the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the University of Illinois (University) recently adopted a new policy for criminal background checks of all new hires,

Whereas, the said policy states “Commencing on October 5, 2015, offers of em-ployment to prospective new hires, as well as offers to current employees who are seeking to transition into a position that requires a background check, will be made contingent upon the results of the criminal background check and other pre-employment assessments,”

Whereas the policy further states, “The University may revoke any conditional offer of employment to an individual who refuses to consent to a background check and individuals whose criminal record or history creates an unacceptable level of risk to (1) maintaining a safe and secure University environment, or (2) the University’s reputation, property or resources,”

Whereas the said BoT policy was established without due regard for shared governance as no faculty participation took place during its formulation,

Whereas the UIUC Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (UIUC-AAUP) believes that the said policy will most likely lead to discrimination and discourage certain groups from applying for positions at the University, Whereas the National AAUP has recommended that criminal background checks of university employees be limited and be proportionately and fairly conducted (AAUP Policy Documents and Reports, 11th Edition, 2015); these principles (limited scope, proportionality and fairness) are expanded to state that such background checks be performed “only as necessary in order to secure information that may ensure that applicants are qualified to meet the particular obligations of specific positions” and not as a general policy for all applicants of all faculty positions, and that the University specify the information sought and explain the reasons it is thought to be necessary,

Be it resolved that we ask the University to rescind the said policy immediately and instead adhere to the principles established by the national AAUP on the subject and return to the previous UI policy of limiting background checks to applicants in only well defined sensitive areas,

Be it also resolved that we ask the University to adhere to the principles of shared governance in its future efforts to establish important policies,

Be it further resolved that the President of the UIUC-AAUP Chapter shall communicate this statement to the appropriate University officials as well as interested groups and individuals immediately.

Approved by UIUC AAUP Policy Committee on October 18, 2015.