Trustees approve background checks for new employees

Patrick Fitzgerald

Trustee Patrick Fitzgerald suggested expanding background checks to include graduate students and internal transfers. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

Background checks will be required beginning Oct. 5 for new faculty, academic professional and Civil Service employees.

The background checks will verify Social Security numbers and look at local, state and national criminal records and the National Sex Offender Registry. For certain jobs, the background checks will also include educational and credit history.

The policy was approved by the Board of Trustees at its Sept. 10 meeting in Urbana-Champaign.

The university already requires background checks for candidates who will work with children or in sensitive or high-security areas.

The results will not necessarily exclude a candidate from employment and extenuating circumstances may be considered, university administrators said.

The background checks will cost about $50 per employee.

Trustee Patrick Fitzgerald asked human resources staff members to research the implications of expanding the policy to include graduate students and internal transfers. He said the item could come up for board consideration by early next year.

Gender reassignment surgery coverage

Gender reassignment surgery provided under the student insurance program and approved by the board two years ago can now be performed within the university’s medical system.

University trustees voted to cover the surgery under student insurance in May 2013, but required the procedure be performed outside the university system.

The measure passed with three “no” votes, with trustee Timothy Koritz saying that allowing the surgeries to be conducted internally could affect university liability and open it to medical malpractice suits.

“It’s a bad business decision,” he said.

He said he voted “no” on the initial insurance expansion question because he felt the procedures being covered were against medical ethics, considering 18-year-olds could become permanently sterilized.

The majority disagreed, with trustee James Montgomery saying, “there is no evidence of any increased (liability) risk.”

Trustee Patrick Fitzgerald agreed. “We don’t have a track record to determine what the (financial) outcome will be,” he said.