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The Daily Tar Heel

Faculty may have to self-report convictions

Policy aims to preserve reputation

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McKay Coble leads the faculty executive meeting covering issues like declining leadership for exhaustive committees and clubs, honor violations of students publishing their work online for money and many other campus activities.

Employees who get in trouble off the job might soon have to pay for it on the job, as well.

The Office of Human Resources presented a proposal to the faculty executive committee on Monday that would require employees to self-report criminal convictions to University officials.

Officials would assess the matter of the conviction and determine whether it affects the University’s reputation or presents a safety threat to the campus.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Matthew Brody said officials will look into some minor convictions, but they might not take serious action toward the employee in question.

“It’s the serious safety issues that we’re looking out for here,” he said.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney said the policy deals only with criminal convictions, not charges or traffic violations.

“The important thing to remember is that these are convictions only,” he said.

Currently, the University has a requirement for all faculty and staff to disclose criminal convictions prior to employment.

“No policy like this has perfect compliance,” Brody said.

The policy would apply to all permanent and temporary faculty, unpaid adjunct faculty who have student contact, and post-doctoral and medical fellows.

It does not apply to students or student employees.

Officials would only investigate a possible conviction if the employee reports their information to a supervisor, department chairman, or to Employee and Management Relations in human resources.

“This is really more proactive than reactive,” Brody said, noting that the proposal had been vetted by several levels of administration, including the chancellor’s office.

“You can never 100 percent prevent against these things,” he added.

Employees would be notified of any action the University might take. They will also be allowed to appeal through normal grievance procedures.

Tenured employees would also be at risk if they have a conviction that would jeopardize the University’s reputation or is relevant to their jobs.

Primarily, officials would look at convictions within the United States, but if an employee is convicted in another country, that country’s laws would be taken into consideration for the final decision.

The office is looking to shape the policy based on other universities’ models.

Other universities with policies like the one proposed include N.C. State University, N.C. Central University, and East Carolina University, whose policy only includes staff members.

“ECU, interestingly, only has it for staff only.” Brody said. “Our policy would just be all inclusive.”

Committee member Jean DeSaix, a senior lecturer in the biology department, said she supported the proposal.

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“It’ll enhance public trust just to have a policy,” she said.

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.