FGCU faculty to get inked: Fingerprinting policy approved
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 00:10
Faculty and staff will soon have to line up to get a lesson in Fingerprinting 101.
A regulation passed by the FGCU Board of Trustees on Sept. 18 has made it mandatory for faculty and staff to get fingerprinted so criminal background checks can be conducted.
“I was surprised I wasn’t asked for it when I was hired,” said Lori Cornelius, a professor in the Department of Language & Literature. “People are already nervous, not because they have something to hide, but because they feel their rights are infringed on.”
According to the regulation, titled Employee Criminal and Background Checks, the employment of those who don’t comply may be at risk.
“Current employees and applicants for positions of employment will be subject to a criminal background check, which will include, as a condition of employment and continued employment, fingerprinting,” the document states.
Douglas Harrison, the faculty senate president and a trustee on the board, said the regulation has merit, but could be problematic for those with minor transgressions.
“We have to be very, very careful in this process that we don’t create a situation where some teenage indiscretion 10 or 20 or 40 years ago ends up derailing someone’s career or besmirching the reputation of
good and decent people,” Harrison said.
Others have expressed that this is a precautionary measure that is in the best interest of the university and keeping students, faculty and staff safe.
“At FGCU, we hope to never be faced with a situation where we could have done more to ensure the safety and security of everyone who spends time on our campus and our off-site locations,” said Susan Evans, university spokeswoman, in an email.
Prior to the approval of the regulation, only employees with certain responsibilities, such as those who handled university funds or employees at the Family Resource Center were required to go through the process of a background check.
Though all agree that the safety of students, staff and faculty is undoubtedly important, employees are concerned and puzzled as to how the regulation came about and what the process will be once the policy is in place.
“The regulation was adopted by the FGCU board of trustees upon recommendation by President Bradshaw and his cabinet as an enhanced means of keeping the FGCU community safe and secure for our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” Evans said.
Staff and faculty members are still concerned, however, that the approval of this regulation may cause other changes to come about that may be viewed as invasive.
“Safety is a top concern, but people are worried about what they will be asked for next,” said Cornelius. “Without having policy in place then you are sending a ripple concern.”
In the meantime, it is unclear what response FGCU employees may get from administration and human resources if they are found to be guilty of a crime, big or small.
“That’s precisely the concern that faculty has raised in regards to questions about the implementation of the policy, and I can’t answer the questions since we haven’t seen the draft language of the policy itself,” Harrison said.
The policy is currently being drafted and is expected to be available for review in mid-November.