Two Decades Old Criminal Record of Bob Jones University Employee
April 2, 2013
Attending a college or university should be a safe and enjoyable environment where students are able to participate in a learning community with their peers and professors alike. Recent news stories feature background checks in typically in schools or day cares, but lately, there has been a heightened sense in conducting background checks at colleges and universities. Not only does this include conducting background checks for faculty members, but lately the idea of conducting background checks on students is beginning to increase in popularity.
Interestingly, even with attention called to conducting background checks on faculty candidates, it seems that colleges are still learning that this should not be an option but rather an essential. At Bob Jones University, a fundamental Christian university located in South Carolina, they recently discovered that their chief brand officer, Joseph Bartosch, had a criminal record from 22 years previous to working at the university. The record involved solicitation of a prostitute for which Bartosch served three days in jail and was sentenced to three years probation. When the school discovered the record, they confronted Bartosch, who confirmed it was true, and was indefinitely suspended. However, there are two facts to take into consideration:
- The university did not conduct a background check on Bartosch
- The criminal record was from over 20 years ago and might have been irrelevant due to the length of time that has passed
While Bartosch was not asked about criminal history on his job application, the university should have taken responsibility in conducting a background check. Several universities have had similar issues, whether it was failing to complete an employment verification or criminal record check on faculty. At Duke University, they already conduct background checks on all University staff and any faculty members involved in clinical work, but they are moving toward screening all faculty in the near future. Most importantly, they are approaching the issue carefully as they will consider the recency, severity and relevance of any criminal records found on job candidates.
Beyond screening faculty members, some colleges are considering the prospect of background checks for students. In particular, colleges and universities in Texas are moving to pass legislation that will allow schools to conduct background checks on students applying to live in college owned housing. The issue arose due to some colleges finding that there were students living on campus with criminal records, including sexual assault, aggravated assault, assaulting a police officer and home burglary.
Should the bill pass, colleges will be able to conduct criminal background checks through the Department of Public Safety, but the bill would not require colleges to conduct the background check. According to Senate Finance Chairman Tommy Williams:
“Colleges and universities should have the ability to evaluate a student’s criminal background before allowing them to live on campus. SB 146 does not require background checks; it simply allows checks when a school deems it is necessary.”
Additionally, access to criminal records would not be available to private colleges. Even at colleges and universities where they will have access to the DPS website for criminal records, only housing directors or a similar position will have access to the website. Most likely, each student would be considered individually and conducting these background checks would simply offer a higher level of safety for campuses.
The bottom line for both faculty or student background checks is that they are beneficial to providing the safest community possible at colleges and universities.
Read more on these stories here: