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3.2 Background Check


Macalester College utilizes background check screenings to contribute to our safe and inclusive environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors.


Macalester College Employment Services department is solely authorized to conduct and oversee the Background Check process. All offers of employment for faculty and staff positions are contingent on a successful background check. Background checks will be conducted using a contracted third party and/or appropriate law enforcement agencies.


This information is secured for the purpose of extending, maintaining, or retracting an offer of employment, and is maintained in confidential files by the Employment Services department. For the purpose of making decisions, report contents or portions of the contents may be shared with appropriate individuals who have a legitimate business need to know as determined by the Director of Human Resources.


All background checks will encompass:

1. Criminal History Check

2. Social Security Number Validation

3. Sex & Violent Offender Registry Check

Depending on the nature of the position, additional components could include:

1. Pre-employment Physical screening for Facilities Services employees

2. Registration and trace through the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) for  employees with key access to individual dwelling spaces. This stipulation is mandated through the Kari Koskinen Manager Background Check Act (MN Statutes, sections 299C.67 to 299C.71) and  includes submitting fingerprints. If needed, this will be facilitated by Employment Services.

3. Motor Vehicle Record screening for employees required to operate motor vehicles for their work at Macalester.


For staff and non-tenure track searches, only candidates that have advanced to a job offer will be required to complete a background check. For tenure track faculty searches, all candidates who advance to the “finalist” stage of consideration will be subject to this background check procedure as a component of the overall selection process. In all cases, candidates who decline to undergo a background check will be disqualified from further consideration.


Employment Services will not consider arrest information unless the arrest resulted in criminal charges, including pending charges. In such circumstances, the applicant and/or law enforcement agencies may be contacted to obtain further information in order to assess the relevance to the position in question. Employment Services will consider convictions disclosed by the applicant or revealed via the process to determine if an employment offer should be extended, maintained, or rescinded.

A conviction, charges, or pending charges will not automatically preclude an individual from employment consideration. Macalester will consider various factors in evaluating whether a conviction disclosed  by an applicant or discovered within the background process, warrants revoking a conditional offer of employment. Factors considered when evaluating an applicant’s background results include:

1. Nature and frequency of the offense(s),

2. Time since conviction,

3. Completion of sentence or any other remediation, and

4. Relevancy to the position for which the candidate is being considered.

Macalester reserves the right to rescind an offer if the nature of the convictions is inconsistent with  seeking to provide a safe learning and working environment for its students and employees; or, it possibly impugns the reputation of the College; or, relates significantly to the duties and responsibilities of the position.

However, as Macalester is committed to providing a safe learning and working environment for its students and employees, the following convictions may result in the withdrawal of a conditional offer of employment in the absence of exceptional facts that support special consideration for employment.

1. Homicide

2. Manslaughter

3. Criminal vehicular murder and injury

4. Assault

5. Kidnapping

6. Criminal sexual conduct

7. Simple and/or aggravated robbery

8. False imprisonment

9. Theft and/or burglary

10.  Terroristic threats

11.  Arson

12. Violation of a harassment and/or stalking statute


With the exception of minor traffic violations (unless the position requires a motor vehicle record check), an applicant will be disqualified from further consideration if they fail to accurately disclose relevant information and/or fail to fully complete the Background Check process. Applicants eliminated due to a failure to disclose will not be eligible for reconsideration for another position at Macalester for a minimum of three years.


  1. Upon receiving an offer of employment at Macalester College, the applicant will be asked to complete a background check authorization and questionnaire via our third party contractor.
  2. Employment Services notifies the hiring manager if the result of the background check is not satisfactory.
  3. The Director of Human Resources, with appropriate consultation with the appropriate manager, will determine if the offer needs to be rescinded in cases where the results of the background check are not satisfactory.
  4. A member of Employment Services contacts the prospective new employee if the offer is rescinded due to a failed background check. Notification is followed up with a formal letter to that individual.
  5. Employment Services keeps the result of the background check in a confidential and secure manner.
  6. Employment Services will determine if additional screening is required per the Kari Koskinen Manager Background Check Act (MN Statutes, sections 299C.67 to 299C.71). If this is deemed necessary, Employment Services will complete that authorization as part of the onboarding process, and will complete fingerprinting on the employee’s first day as needed.
  7. Initial background checks must be completed as a condition of employment prior to the individual beginning work, in any capacity, at Macalester.


Individuals who are rehired within 12 months (365 days) from their termination date will not be required to undergo a new background check unless the new position they are hired into requires additional screenings that were not completed during the initial background check. Rehires will still be required to follow Macalester’s policy for recurring background checks.


Macalester will require employees to undergo a background check every 5 years of their employment. The process and interpretation of the results will follow the Relevancy of Convictions section provided by this policy.

  1. Employees will be notified of their need to complete a background check via an email from Employment Services; followed up by an email from Orange Tree, our background check vendor, providing access to complete the background check form. 
  2. It will be the employee’s responsibility to comply with these requests for updated information. Employees who do not comply as requested will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. 
  3. If there is an incident discovery that reveals previously unknown information that requires additional consideration, a three person council will review the finding(s) and determine if the incident is in violation of our Background Check Policy. The employee will also be invited to comment on the incident.
    1. The three person council for faculty consists of: the Dean of the Faculty, the Faculty Affirmative Action Officer, and the Title IX Coordinator. Cases not cleared by the panel will be referred to the Faculty Personnel Committee (FPC) and will follow the process in the faculty handbook Section 3.VII.
    2. The three person council for staff consists of: the Director of Human Resources, the Title IX Coordinator, and Vice President for Institutional Equity. Cases not cleared by the panel will be referred to the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Vice President of Administration and Finance.
  4. The recurring background check will only consist of the following:
    1. Social Security Number Trace.
    2. Criminal Sex Offender Registry (SOR).
    3. Criminal Record Search (National, State, County).
  5. The recurring background check will not cover the following:
    1. Credit checks.
    2. Motor vehicle records check. However, if there has been a criminal charge (i.e., misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony) related to your operation of a motorized vehicle, these incidents would show up as a part of the criminal check. Civil citations such as speeding ticket(s), running a red light, etc. would not be captured.
  6. Macalester will only review the past 7 years of these checks.

Please see a Q&A and a Review Process Flow Chart here: Recurring Background Check Q&A

If these recurring background checks reveal previously unknown information, Macalester will obtain further information from the employee, and possibly law enforcement agencies.  Depending on these findings, the individual in question may be subject to further review which could include removal from their current role and/or termination of employment. 

If an employee is convicted of a crime, charged with a crime or has a pending criminal charge, it is requested that the employee be forthcoming with Employment Services at the time of the incident and not wait for it to be discovered as a result of this recurring background process.