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Penn State requires criminal background checks before employment at university

Penn State requires criminal background checks before employment at university

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.—Pennsylvania State University announced a new policy that requires final job applicants and third-party employees to undergo criminal background checks before approval of work at the university.

The policy, which became effective Thursday, aims to establish a process to review a potential job candidate's criminal and child abuse records, Penn State said in a Thursday statement.

Under the policy, current employees in “sensitive/critical” positions also must complete the background check and all employees are required to disclose criminal arrests and convictions within 72 hours of their occurrence, the university said.

The background criminal check covers academic and nonacademic positions, unpaid positions, and third-party employees working on the university's behalf, Penn State said.

The new policy comes as the embattled university faces complex civil lawsuits after the conviction of former Assistant Football Coach Gerald A. Sandusky of child sexual abuse.

Penn State also last month updated its policy that requires all employees to report suspected child abuse to state officials.

"The updated background check policy reflects best practice and is part of a comprehensive program of due diligence and proactive safety measures,” Susan Basso, associate vp of human resources at Penn State, said in the statement. "By consistent implementation of the policy, we'll ensure a safer environment for all of Penn State's employees, students and visitors.”