I. General Policy
Rice University is committed to ensuring that its academic and research mission is supported by qualified faculty and staff, and that its community is safe. This policy sets forth requirements for background checks for employment and provides guidelines for the hiring of employees (consistent with the Texas Education Code §51.215).
This policy is applicable to all faculty and staff positions, and for individuals who work with minors in a university program or activity (background checks for working with minors must be renewed every three years).
All application documents for Rice employment include a section for disclosure of the applicant’s criminal history and authorization to initiate a background check at the time an offer of employment is extended. Any offer of employment, or certain instances of rehire, renewal, promotion or transfer, shall be conditional upon a satisfactory result from the criminal background check. Other background checks may also be conducted based on the requirements of the position. These backgrounds checks may include employment and educational history, credit report, and/or motor vehicle record checks.
II. Roles and Responsibilities
Human Resources will review and adjudicate criminal background checks for staff and will maintain appropriate records. The Provost and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs will review and adjudicate criminal background checks for faculty (including tenure, tenure-track, and non-tenure track and adjuncts) and will maintain appropriate records.
III. Elaboration of Policy
A. Overview of the Review Process
The University will review the findings from background checks on an individual basis, taking into consideration the individual's overall criminal history, the type and severity of the offense, the amount of time since the offense, and whether the offense is relevant to the duties of the position or to furthering of the mission of the University. An individual with a criminal record will not automatically be disqualified from employment. This assessment for staff will be made by Human Resources, and for faculty by the Provost and the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.
After the criminal background check is completed, the hiring department will be notified and the results will be adjudicated as either:
Satisfactory: The conditional offer of employment is lifted, allowing the selected applicant to be fully processed as an active employee,
Unsatisfactory: The department will withdraw the conditional offer of employment, and the selected applicant will not be allowed to be processed as an active employee.
In compliance with the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), individual applicants or employees will be notified in writing (a pre-adverse notice) if a background check reveals relevant criminal history and will be provided a copy of the report for review. Individuals will be given five business days to respond with a clarification and/or correction prior to final adjudication of the results. If the final adjudication is “unsatisfactory”, a final written notice to that effect (an adverse notice) will be issued to the individual advising that the employment action will not continue.
B. Use of Information Obtained in a Background Check
The University will not use any information obtained in the course of a criminal background check to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
A summary of the criminal history information concerning the individual will be securely stored and maintained in Human Resources, and purged in accordance with HR’s document retention policy for personnel records.
IV. Cross References to Related Policies
V. Responsible Official and Key Offices to Contact Regarding the Policy and its Implementation
Responsible Official: Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration
Other Key Offices: Human Resources; Vice Provost for Academic Affairs; Provost; General Counsel
VI. Procedures and Forms
David W. Leebron, President
August 27, 2019; August 30, 2000
January 18, 2023
August 15, 2023
November 1, 1996
Replaces Policy 425
Security Sensitive Positions