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The Daily Tar Heel

Opinion: UNC should help volunteers pay for background checks

Public service is one of the three tenets of our University’s mission. The emphasis on public service while we’re in college transforms us from students into change-makers in the community.

Yet, recent policy changes by the University have placed barriers on students’ ability to engage with the surrounding community. The University mandates that all students working with minors receive the same background check that it mandates for its employees — a background check which can cost more than $50. We urge the University and its Student Affairs department to front the costs for these checks rather than placing the financial burden on the students and student organizations.

Working with vulnerable populations such as minors requires extra sensitivity and caution. In a time of increased liability and concern, having students take background checks is a rational if slightly overzealous policy. Our gripe lies with the school’s lack of financial support for student organizations who implement this policy.

UNC has had a strong history of community service. However, this policy will limit the amount of students who see civic engagement with youth as a viable extracurricular.

Why is the University erecting more barriers for students rather than deconstructing them? If altruism has an expensive price tag associated with it, one of the three pillars of the University’s mission will quickly fade.

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