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Due to growing nationwide concerns regarding the suitability of today's healthcare professionals, many hospitals, healthcare systems, clinics, physician offices, or pharmacies providing healthcare services require disclosure of an individual's criminal history. In addition, many state statutes also require disclosure of an individual's criminal history in order to apply for certain health professional certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license to practice in a clinical setting or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. In response to this growing trend, Midwestern University requires students to submit to criminal background checks.
It is the policy of Midwestern University that all accepted students must submit to a criminal background check prior to matriculation. In addition, students who remain enrolled must submit to a criminal background check as needed to remain eligible for continued participation and/or to participate in clinical rotations. A criminal background check may necessitate one or more of the following: 1) a standard criminal background check conducted through an approved background check agency, 2) a fingerprint background check conducted by an approved agency, in which the prints are submitted to both State Police and the FBI database and/or 3) an International Police Clearance. The procedure utilized to conduct the background check will be based upon the individual's residency status, country of origin, time in residence in the United States and specific program requirements. In accordance with the laws of the State of Illinois, CCOM students are required to undergo fingerprinting as part of the criminal background check process. Students in other programs may also be required to undergo fingerprinting. The criminal background check involves obtaining an authorization from a matriculating or current student that allows the University to obtain the student's individual criminal history. The results of the background check are reviewed by the Dean of Students to determine whether or not there is a record of misdemeanor and/or felony convictions. If there is a positive record, the Dean of Students will inform the appropriate College Dean and the Director of University Risk Management so the University can make a determination whether the criminal history will negatively impact the student's admission status or ability to complete the practical training/rotation requirements of the degree program. Criminal background checks are conducted through the Office of Student Services as part of the initial student matriculation process and on an as-needed basis thereafter while a student is actively enrolled at Midwestern University.
- All matriculating students must complete the Criminal Background Release and Consent Form to conduct the criminal background check. All newly admitted students who have submitted a matriculation deposit are provided with access to a copy of the University policy and the Criminal Background Release and Consent Form. By going to the Midwestern University website (http://www.midwestern.edu) and selecting MWUNET, the student can complete the Consent Form, which can be found under the Student Services Tab on the portal. The Policy can be accessed by logging into the Student Handbook under the Resource section and selecting 'Criminal Background Check Policy'.
- Incoming pharmacy, optometry, and dental students will complete a criminal background check through the appropriate application agency (PharmCAS, OptomCAS, or ADEA). The results of those background checks will be forwarded to Midwestern University.
- Incoming international students must complete an International Police Clearance, either under the guidance of Midwestern University or their application agency. If the international student has also resided in the United States within the seven year period prior to matriculation, the student must also complete a criminal background check. The International Police Clearance must be initiated by the student according to the guidelines of the country from which the Clearance is required.
- Incoming students must complete the criminal background check requirement prior to matriculation. For students who are admitted close to their matriculation date, or for students whose situation may necessitate an extension, the criminal background check must be completed by the end of the first month of the first quarter of enrollment for their program. Failure to complete the background check within the stated timeframe jeopardizes their continued enrollment, and the student may be required to take a mandatory leave of absence.
- The Office of Student Services will contract with a professional service to conduct the criminal background check.
- The Dean of Students will review all criminal background reports and determine whether or not a misdemeanor or felony conviction record exists. If a felony or misdemeanor conviction exists, the Dean of Students will conduct a criminal background investigation. The investigation may include any of the following components:
- Request for additional detailed information about the positive criminal background check report. This may entail one or more meetings with the student.
- Collection of additional data, e.g., Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprints and report, concerning the positive criminal background check report. Following the criminal background investigation, the Dean of Students, in consultation with the Academic Dean (or their designees), will determine whether or not the student should be disqualified from matriculation or continued enrollment. A record of criminal activity will not automatically disqualify a student from enrollment or continued enrollment. The University will consider such factors as (but not limited to) the nature of the crime, the age of the individual at the time the crime was committed, length of time since the criminal activity, any fines, sanctions or convictions, the nature of the clinical program and the relatedness of the conviction, and whether the University will be able to provide appropriate professional clinical training to the student. Students who are permitted to matriculate with a positive criminal background check are required to sign a waiver stating their understanding of the possible negative impact of their background check on their education, postgraduate training and licensure.
- Failure to disclose criminal activity or material misrepresentation of information by an incoming student is deemed to be falsification of the application and may result in denial of admission, matriculation and/or dismissal from the program and University. Failure to disclose criminal activity or material misrepresentation of information by an enrolled student is deemed to be a violation of the student Code of Conduct and may result in dismissal from the program and University. Incoming and enrolled students must disclose any criminal activity, including misdemeanor or felony charges/convictions to their Academic Dean and the Dean of Students.
- Failure of the student to present appropriate forms to the Office of Student Services for the purpose of conducting criminal background checks when requested will bar the student from initial matriculation and/or continued enrollment.
- Students with a positive criminal background check are individually responsible for checking the licensing and certification requirements in any state where the student is interested in participating in a postgraduate residency training to determine whether or not their criminal background will be a barrier to participation.
- Students are required to disclose to the Dean of Students and appropriate Academic Dean any arrests, criminal charges, or convictions against them during their entire period of enrollment as a student at Midwestern University. Disclosure must be made immediately after the incident that resulted in charges so the University can assess the impact of the incident on the student's academic progression. Such arrests, criminal charges, or convictions may negatively impact a student's ability to obtain and/or complete clinical rotations or preceptorships, post-graduate residency placement or licensure.
- Midwestern University does not guarantee clinical rotations, post-graduate residency placement or licensure for students who have a positive criminal history. Clinical rotation placement, post-graduate residency placement, and licensure are governed by separate entities who use their own specific set of standards that may be different than those used by Midwestern University. In such cases, the University confidentially shares information about the student's positive criminal history with potential preceptors and practice site representatives as necessary and on a need-to-know basis. This may include releasing a copy of the original Criminal Background Check report for their review. This gives the preceptor and site representatives an opportunity to decide whether the student is acceptable to the site. For this reason, scheduling and completion of practical training/rotations and graduation may be delayed. In some instances, it will not be possible to arrange for practical training/rotations at specific sites. Under these circumstances, the college/program will work with the student to find a possible clinical rotation site that will accept a student with a positive criminal background check.
- If this information is known by the University prior to the student's matriculation, the Academic Dean (or their designee) will meet with the potential student to discuss the consequences of the positive criminal background investigation on the student's ability to complete degree requirements, post-graduate residency placement and licensure so that appropriate action can be taken.
- If this information is known by the University after the student's matriculation, the Academic Dean (or their designee) will meet with the student to discuss the consequences of the positive criminal background investigation on the student's ability to start/resume practical training/rotations and the student's ability to graduate, secure a post-graduate residency and obtain licensure so that appropriate action can be taken.
- Records concerning a student's positive criminal background check are stored in a confidential file in the Student Services Office.
- In the event that a student is assigned to a practical training/rotation site that requires a copy of the original Criminal Background Check report prior to a student's placement at the site, the student's criminal background check report and cover letter will be scanned into an encrypted password protected PDF file. The encrypted PDF file will be forwarded via email to the rotation site coordinator.