News Ticker

Background Checks

By: Sean McNearney


Crime dramas portray detectives digging up the dark secrets of one’s past, the undisclosed details, the rap sheet and the skeletons in the closet. Here at Boise State, however, background checks are a regular occurrence within the Human Resources Office, with very little drama.

Boise State University Policy #7005 is seven pages of all the intricacies related to background investigations done by the university. A background check can include research of criminal convictions, motor vehicle records and credit standings. Not only are criminal records a matter of security, but on average one in five employees leave a company within six months.

This creates turnover costs, which can range from $8,839 for an $8/hr. worker to $56,844 for a store manager. At least, that’s what Sterling Infosystems claims, the company that Boise State hires to conduct all employee background investigations. Headquartered in New York City, they specialize in background checks on a
global scale.  Juan Fernando, a senior civil engineering major, approves of background checks.

“Background checks seem smart, because it will make people safe because people know who they are and where they came from,” Fernando said.

So who receives these background checks? The policy outlines an applicant as “an individual applying for a position not currently held at the university.”

This includes employees who have been on leave for more than one year, or current employees transferring positions from within as well as volunteers. Checks are conducted on essentially anyone interacting with students and minors, handling hazardous materials, operating university vehicles and those with access to master keys.

Master keys are just what they sound like.  All students in residence halls have individual keys that work just for their room.

But on a set of master keys, four keys can access any room in Chaffee, Taylor, Kaiser, Towers, Driscoll Morrison, Suites, Lincoln and most offices, as well as rooftops.

What about contract workers? When windows, doors and a slew of other things need repaired or replaced, the University often hires contractors. These repairs often take place over breaks in classes, when the majority of the residence halls are empty.

During winter break 2012, several windows were replaced in Taylor Hall.

To fully replace a window, someone needs to be outside, and someone on the inside. For windows being replaced in residence halls, this would require entry into students’ rooms, and inevitably, the moving of personal items.

In regards to these individuals receiving background checks, Human Resource Associate Rhonda Beal states contract workers are “excluded from the policy.”

There are no records of any incidents. Paige Puccineui, a junior communication major, wishes background checks would be done on contract workers.

“I feel like if anything it would make me more comfortable,” Puccineui said.

However, she admitted to not being very careful while living in the dorms.

“When I lived in the dorms, I used to leave my door open all the time, and people would bounce in and out and I was always worried about my stuff, but I would continue to leave it open like an idiot,” Puccineui said.