Background Check Policy (Winter, 2008)

All students participating in the Supervised Ministry Program (the “Program”) at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (the “School”) shall be required to undergo a background check (the “Background Check”) which will include the following:

• Residency History;

• Social Security Verification; and

• Law Enforcement Records, including sex offender registrations.

The Background Check must be ordered and paid for by the student no later than March 31st of the Spring session prior to enrollment in the Program for the next academic year.  The student must also submit an Authorization/Release for Background Check form to the Director of the Program.  The failure to order and pay for the Background Check and submit the required form by March 31st will result in the student being denied entrance into the Program for the upcoming academic year.

The Background Check is one of the resources needed for the Program, much like the books needed for a class.  The Authorization/Release for Background Check form authorizing the School to review the results of the Background Check will be provided for students at the Site Fair which is held during the first 10 days of February as well as instructions to guide students through the process of ordering the Background Check.  Please note that the cost of the Background Check is currently under $50.00.

The review of background information has become the best practice for persons working in helping professions, and in some of those professions, legally required.  The Program requires the Background Check for two reasons:  (1) to model a “best practice” for our students to demonstrate a proactive approach regarding the health, well-being and safety of the people we serve; and (2) to insure that the students that we send out from the School to the Program sites are people of integrity who serve from a place of wholeness, i.e. being the people God is calling the students to be.

The Background Check reports will be initially reviewed by the Director of the Program to determine the student’s suitability for the Program, and the School shall use reasonable care to keep the report confidential.  The student is obligated to provide the School with any new information which would otherwise be set forth in an updated Background Check report.

The following may result in the denial of admission to, or the dismissal from, the Program and/or other action pursuant to the applicable policies and procedures of the School:

(1)            a felony conviction;

(2)            a misdemeanor conviction involving any crime involving prohibited substances or any crime against a person, including, but not limited to, physical or sexual abuse such as lewd conduct, sexual battery, sexual exploitation, rape or statutory rape); or

(3)            a sex offense registration, or an offense that under current law would result in registration.

For purposes of this policy, the term “conviction” shall be interpreted broadly to include pleas of no contest, withheld judgments, suspended sentences or similar dispositions.  The student shall notify the Director of the Program in writing of any new information (e.g., arrests or pending charges) that would otherwise be provided in a new Background Check.  If a student has pending charges that, if a conviction resulted would result in the denial of admission to, or the dismissal from, the Program, the student may be prohibited from enrolling, or continuing, in the Program until the final disposition of the charges.  The existence of a conviction does not automatically disqualify a student.  Relevant considerations may include, but are not limited to, the date, nature and number of convictions, the relationship the conviction bears to the Program, and successful efforts towards rehabilitation.

If the Background Check report contains or the student informs the School of information that may lead to the denial of admission to, or the dismissal from, the Program, or other appropriate action, he or she will be notified and required to meet with, and/or submit information to, the Director of the Program and Academic Dean.  This will be done to afford the student the opportunity to be heard before any denial or dismissal.

While the School will use reasonable care to keep a student’s background information confidential, it may be shared with the School’s legal counsel and others who the Director of the Program identifies as having a need-to-know.  If any background information requires additional investigation, the School may proceed to request additional information from the student and/or appropriate third parties.  In addition, the School may require the student to obtain an updated Background Check at any time.

The School will make reasonable efforts to keep students informed of any changes in this policy; however, the School reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to amend or repeal this policy, in whole or in part, at any time.