Procedure for Reviewing and Acting Upon Criminal Background Checks

1. For those applicants (including transfers) found acceptable to the Admissions Committee of the School of Medicine, they will be notified in writing of their conditional acceptance pending, in part, a criminal background check. In order for the criminal background check to be performed, the applicant must provide a completed and signed consent form.

Medical school applicants will receive the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) consent form at the time that they are invited to interview. The completed form and copy of government issued identification is required as part of the interview check-in process. Accepted medical school applicants will be provided with information regarding a criminal background check from the third-party vendor who is engaged to do this work on behalf of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) (currently Certiphi Screening, Inc.) Accepted medical school applicants will provide consent to the criminal background check upon submission of the information required by the third-party vendor.

2. For those currently enrolled School of Medicine students: (a) where a clinical rotation site has requested a criminal background check be undertaken; or (b) where we are advised by a clinical rotation site that a student has received a positive response from a criminal background check, we will initiate our own criminal background check. In either instance, the student shall provide the Office of Student Affairs with a completed and signed consent form.

[Prior to triggering this section, the currently enrolled student must be advised in writing of the following: (a) a clinical rotation site requested by him/her requires that there be a satisfactory criminal background check before they will be able to participate in same; (b) if the site requires UMMS to conduct the CBC, the student must agree to promptly and voluntarily provide UMMS with a completed and signed consent form; (c) if the site conducts its own CBC, the student must agree to promptly and voluntarily provide that site with a completed and signed consent form; (d) if, as a result of the CBC conducted by a clinical rotation site, the student’s criminal background check is positive, the student must agree to promptly and voluntarily provide UMMS with another completed and signed consent form so that UMMS may perform such a CBC; (e) notwithstanding that he/she is currently enrolled at UMMS, the student must further acknowledge, understand, and agree that if the results of any CBC reveal that the student has a criminal history, the CRCBC will review and administer same consistent with this Process, and that the student’s right to continued enrollment at UMMS may be jeopardized by the results of said Process.]

3. The School of Medicine Admissions Office and/or Office of Student Affairs will deliver all completed and signed consent forms to the UMMS designated CORI Officer only, who will obtain the results of the criminal background check.

4. If the criminal background check is negative:

(a) and the report comes from the AAMC third-party vendor, the Office of Student Affairs shall notify the Medical School Admissions Office, who will then advise the applicant
(b) and the report is on a currently enrolled School of Medicine student and relates to a clinical rotation site, the Office of Student Affairs shall further handle same, including advising the student

5. If the criminal background check is positive, the Director of the Center for Academic Achievement will forward a copy of same to the applicant or currently enrolled student advising that his/her “status” at UMMS may be impacted by same, and also informing the applicant that he/she may submit a voluntary written response within seven (7) calendar days addressing the following issues:

(a) Whether the criminal history refers to somebody else and not the applicant/student.
(b) Provide an explanation for the criminal history and/or why it should not be relevant to the applicant’s candidacy or student’s continuing enrollment. The applicant/student may provide “letters of explanation” from third-parties.
(c) Whether the applicant/student wishes to participate in an in-person on campus interview to discuss same (the applicant/student is not allowed any representation at such an interview, legal or otherwise).

[For “applicants”, the Director of the Center for Academic Achievement will review the application of each person who has a positive criminal background check to see if the applicant answered certain questions on the application truthfully. The Director of the Center for Academic Achievement will report on any discrepancies to the CRCBC and respective Admissions Office.]

6. The CRCBC will meet within 10 calendar days following the above deadline to review the criminal background check and any written response that may have been submitted thereto. If the applicant/student has requested an in-person interview, it may occur on the same day as the CRCBC’s meeting, but in any event the interview must occur within this same 10 day period following the deadline in section 5. If the applicant/student does not arrange for such an interview within this 10 day period, the process is closed and the CRCBC will move to its decision, unless the CRCBC is satisfied that remarkable extenuating circumstances warrant a delay. However, in no event will the delay be allowed to extend to within 2 weeks of school registration. The CRCBC may also meet prior to any interview to determine if, based on the content of the background check, no such interview is necessary in order to endorse the applicant’s offer of acceptance or the student’s continuing enrollment. The CRCBC may, but is not obligated to, review certified or authenticated copies of court documents that further discuss or explain the facts/issues surrounding the involved criminal history.

7. After considering:

(a) the results of the criminal background check,
(b) the applicant’s written response and supporting reference letters (if any were submitted),
(c) the contents of the student’s application, and (iv) the results of the in-person interview (if one occurred), the CRCBC shall vote, by a majority, on whether:
(i) the applicant’s conditional offer of acceptance to UMMS should be rescinded, or
(ii) the student should be allowed to continue his/her enrollment at UMMS.

8. Factors that may be considered by the CRCBC in making its decision may include, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) Whether the contents of the criminal background check are considered of a nature that would (or would not) preclude the applicant/student from safely caring for patients or other vulnerable populations.
(b) Relevance of the crime to the status sought at UMMS.
(c) Disposition of the incident.
(d) Time since conviction(s) (if any).
(e) Age of the candidate at the time of the offense.
(f) Seriousness and specific circumstances of the offense.
(g) Number of offenses.
(h) Whether the applicant/student has pending charges.
(i) Any relevant evidence of rehabilitation or lack thereof.
(j) Any other relevant and credible (authenticated) information, including information submitted by the candidate or requested by the CRCBC.
(k) Whether the contents of the criminal background check are considered of a nature involving a high degree of moral turpitude and/or calling into question the applicant’s/student’s professional standing, ethics, and/or reputation in the community.
(l) For currently enrolled students only, whether there is an available method of re-mediation and/or rehabilitation, to which the student must agree to undertake and satisfactorily complete.

9. If the CRCBC votes by a majority not to rescind/revoke the applicant’s offer of acceptance or the student’s continued enrollment, the Director of the Center for Academic Achievement will notify the Admissions Office or the Office of Student Affairs that the applicant’s/student’s criminal background check is satisfactory/acceptable, and the applicant/student will be so informed.

10. If the CRCBC votes by a majority to rescind/revoke the applicant’s offer of acceptance or the student’s continued enrollment at UMMS, the Director of the Center for Academic Achievement will notify the applicant/student of same, as well as their right of appeal. The applicant/student will be further advised that if they elect to pursue such an “appeal”, they must consent (in writing) to allow the full results of their criminal background check to be disclosed to the Review Panel and, if appropriate, the Clinical and/or Basic Science Evaluation Board. Such an appeal must be requested in writing by the applicant/student within seven (7) calendar days following delivery of the rescission/revocation decision. The CRCBC will consider requests for brief extensions of time if reasonable and not prejudicial to the involved school.  If the applicant decides not to appeal, the Director of the Center for Academic Achievement will forward the matter to the Admissions Office.  If the currently enrolled student decides not to appeal, the Director of the Center for Academic Achievement shall forward the matter to the Clinical and/or Basic Science Evaluation Board.

If the applicant/student desires to appeal, a panel of three faculty members will be convened to hear the appeal (“Review Panel”) comprising of:

➢ Director, Office of Ethics
➢ Associate Vice Provost for Research
➢ Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Graduate School of Nursing

11. The applicant/student may choose to meet with the Review Panel either in person or by conference call (the applicant may not have any representation present, legal or otherwise). This meeting must be accomplished within 10 calendar days following expiration of the above deadline unless the panel decides that remarkable extenuating circumstances warrant a further delay. In no case will such a delay be allowed to extend to within one (1) week of school registration.

12. The Review Panel will consider
(a) the results of the criminal background check,
(b) the applicant’s original written response thereto,
(c) any supporting references,
(d) the contents of the student’s application,
(e) the results of any interview(s) that may have occurred, and the CRCBC’s threshold decision to either rescind the offer of acceptance or revoke the student’s eligibility for continued enrollment (the Review Panel will not be told the CRCBC’s actual vote, 2-1 or 3-0). For currently enrolled students only, the Review Panel may also consider whether there is an available method of re-mediation and/or rehabilitation, to which the student must agree to undertake and satisfactorily complete.

13. If the Review Panel reverses the CRCBC’s decision by a unanimous vote, it will notify the Director of the Center for Academic Achievement, who will notify the respective Admissions Office or Office of Student Affairs that either the applicant’s criminal background check is now satisfactory/acceptable, or the student’s continued enrollment is approved. The Admissions Office or Office of Student Affairs will notify the applicant/student.

14. With regard to an “applicant”, if the Review Panel fails to vote unanimously for reversal, it will notify the Director of the Center for Academic Achievement, who will notify the Admissions Office that the student applicant’s criminal background check is not acceptable and that the prior offer of acceptance should be rescinded.  The Admissions Office will notify the student applicant that said offer is rescinded and that no further internal appeal is possible.

15. With regard to a currently enrolled “student”, if the Review Panel fails to vote unanimously for reversal, it will notify the Director of the Center for Academic Achievement, who will notify the Office of Student Affairs and forward the matter to the Clinical and/or Basic Science Evaluation Board for further handling consistent with that Board’s already established protocols and procedures.

16. All files, materials, correspondence, documents, memos, and notes on “positive” CBC and/or CORI checks (including the actual criminal background record and notes from any interviews), will be securely housed in the office of the Director of the Center for Academic Achievement and/or his/her recordkeeping assistant.

17. Anonymous, unsubstantiated, or other peripheral information given to, or received by, a member of either the CRCBC or the Review Panel shall not be considered germane to their respective discussions. However, if substantiated (authenticated) information of a crime or conviction involving the student applicant becomes available that was not included in the initial criminal background check, the CRCBC and Review Panel may consider same, and additionally, it may further investigate the case(s). Any such additional information or history, if considered at all by the CRCBC or Review Panel must be shared with the applicant/student, and the applicant/student given an opportunity to respond thereto.

18. At any time during the work of the CRCBC or Review Panel, either committee may seek the assistance and/or input from an attorney within the University of Massachusetts’ Office of the General Counsel, but said attorney is not a voting member of either committee.

19. Criminal background checks and Criminal Offender Record Information documents on students who are matriculated will be destroyed upon the student’s graduation. A CORI expires after one year.

20. Criminal background checks and Criminal Offender Record Information documents on applicants who are denied matriculation because their acceptance was rescinded will be destroyed three (3) years after the final rescission decision was delivered to the applicant.

21. Criminal background checks and Criminal Offender Record Information documents on applicants whose candidacy was found acceptable but who either elected not to matriculate or withdrew before matriculation will be destroyed at the end of that year’s admission cycle.

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