Wildcat Statue

Background Check Policy

Background Check Policy

Background Check Policy, Effective 10/1/2023


Northern Michigan University is committed to providing a safe environment for its students, faculty, and staff, utilizing best practices when hiring, and minimizing institutional risk. This policy is intended to help the University achieve these goals by:

  • Requiring background checks for individuals being considered for employment/appointment with NMI-J and/or individuals working in or transferred to defined positions with the University.
  • Providing self-disclosure requirements for those individuals covered by this policy.
  • Establishing procedures for conducting background checks.


This Policy applies to full and part-time faculty, staff, temporary/casual labor, graduate assistants, teaching assistants, visiting professors, visiting international scholars, post-doctoral fellows, paraprofessionals, research associates, professional affiliate appointments (whether paid or unpaid) and volunteers.


  • Students or student employees unless required as a result of state, federal, and/or licensure requirements, or unless specified in other department policies.
  • Individuals covered by the Minors on Campus policy, who are required to complete background checks per the terms of the Minors on Campus policy.
  • Speakers and other on-campus visitors unless addressed otherwise in other policies.


As a condition of hire or appointment, background checks are required for all individuals offered a full or part-time faculty, staff, temporary/casual labor, graduate assistantships, or teaching assistant position, and for all individuals with NMI-J appointments including visiting professors, visiting international scholars, post-doctoral fellows, paraprofessionals, research associates and professional affiliates (whether paid or unpaid). [*1]

The background check will include the following at a minimum:

  1. Verification of Social Security Number
  2. Examination of criminal records including a national criminal search, and a criminal felony and misdemeanor search.
  3. Examination of national sex offender registry.

Background checks may also include:

  • Degree Verification
  • Employment Verification
  • Licensure Verification
  • Credit Check
  • Motor Vehicle Record Check (for positions that require a valid driver's license)
  • Examination of federal debarment lists

The existence of a criminal conviction will not automatically disqualify an individual from employment/appointment or employment consideration. When assessing background check results, the University will comply with all state and federal laws and regulations as well as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Federal Trade Commission requirements.

Background Re-Check

NMU reserves the right to complete a background check for current employees pursuant to state or federal law, or for certain sensitive positions (such as those with significant financial responsibilities), or when the University has reasonable suspicion that the original background check was incomplete or inaccurate. A background check may be required for existing employees who: (1) are legally required to have a background check, (2) are required to have a criminal background check pursuant to the Minors on Campus policy, (3) are assigned new duties that involve significant safety or security considerations or financial responsibilities or (4) the University receives credible information which suggests the individual has failed to provide updated information about a felony arrest or criminal conviction as required by this policy. (See Self-Disclosure Requirement).

Individuals who have a successfully completed background check on file with the Human Resources department, Academic Affairs, or the NMU Police Department and who experience a break in service/appointment, may not be required to have an additional background check completed if the background check was completed within the previous twelve months.

Contingents and Continuing Contingents may not be required to have an additional background check completed after successfully completing the initial background check process.

Self-Disclosure Requirement

Individuals covered by this policy are required to disclose to Human Resources within 72 hours of the occurrence, or as early as possible, all relevant events that could adversely impact their  ability to successfully fulfill the responsibilities of their employment/appointment including:

  1. Professional misconduct or sanctions;
  2. Any civil rights violation that the individual admitted or was determined by a court or other adjudicative process to have committed; and/or
  3. Any felony crime for which the individual was arrested and charged or any serious crime [*2] for which the individual was convicted or pled "no contest."

Disclosure must be made by contacting the head of human resources at 227-2333 or Human Resources at hr@nmu.edu.

These events will not, in and of themselves, result in termination of employment/appointment. However, failure to disclose such information, or any misrepresentation made in connection with the disclosure, could be grounds for termination.

The head of Human Resources, or their designee, will make a good faith effort to contact the individual and provide them an opportunity to provide clarifying information about the disclosure. In consultation with the NMU Police department and relevant administrators, the head of Human Resources, or their designee, will evaluate the relevancy of the criminal history and/or events disclosed and determine whether the individual can successfully fulfill the responsibilities of their employment/appointment. Depending on the facts of the matter disclosed and the impact on the individual's ability to successfully fulfill their work-related responsibilities, the individual may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.


[*1]  Background checks conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for international, non-citizen job candidates as part of the visa process may be considered adequate for the purposes of this policy if the candidate has not previously resided in the United States.

 [*2]   A "serious crime" is one that involves drug distribution; sexual offense; violence involving physical injury to another person; child abuse, molestation or child endangerment; theft or embezzlement.

1.  Employment applicants who apply to positions using the University's Applicant Tracking System will receive written notification of the requirement to successfully pass a background check at the time of application.

For all other individuals, the hiring/hosting department will be responsible for initiating the background check request process. The hiring department must inform the individual of NMU's requirement to successfully complete a background check prior to employment/appointment and then must follow the process to request a background check using the designated system(s).

2.  Background checks will be initiated by designated and trained individuals in either the Human Resources department, Academic Affairs, or the NMU Police department (referred to as "Authorized Initiators").

For purposes of the initial employment/appointment background check, Authorized Initiators may only initiate background checks after they receive the required authorization forms from the applicant/individual.

3.  The background check must be completed before the individual's employment/appointment begins, except as provided below. Any offers made before a background check is complete shall be expressly conditional upon the successful completion of a background check.

Employment may begin prior to the completion of a background check only as a conditional offer of employment/appointment when the hiring authority establishes a compelling need to the Human Resources department or the Provost (for academic appointments). Conditional offers will be withdrawn if the results of the background check are deemed to disqualify the applicant for the position (regardless if conditional employment began).

4.  Background checks will be completed using a third-party vendor with which the University has a contract/service agreement in place, the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) system or equivalent state system outside of Michigan for which the Authorized Initiators have been authorized and trained.

5.  Results from a background check will be considered in the following manner. If the background check reveals criminal records, the Authorized Initiator will consult with the head of Human Resources and/or the NMI-J Chief of Police. To the extent required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), applicants will be informed in writing of the adverse information discovered in the background check.

The head of Human Resources, or their designee, will contact the applicant to conduct an individualized assessment related to the background check results which will include, but not be limited to:

  • Number of offenses or misconduct and the circumstances of each
  • Length of time between the offense and the application for employment
  • Other employment history
  • Evidence of the applicant's rehabilitation efforts
  • Severity of the offence or misconduct
  • Relevance of the offense or misconduct to the responsibilities of the position

The results of the individualized assessment will be discussed with the NMU Chief of Police to determine whether the individual is disqualified from consideration for the position.

6.  All results of the background check will remain confidential, will be maintained per required protocols by Human Resources, Academic Affairs or the NMU Police Department, and will be disclosed only to authorized employees who have a need to know.

7.  Hiring/hosting departments may be responsible for the cost of the background check.

Background Check FAQ's

Background Check Process and Procedures for Initiators

A background check is required prior to hiring an individual as an adjunct instructor, contingent instructor, graduate assistant, teaching (tutorial) assistant, temporary/casual labor, paraprofessional, post-doctor fellows, research associates, professional affiliate appointments, visiting professor, visiting international scholar or volunteer on or after October 1, 2023. All faculty and staff vacancies advertised through the PageUp Talent Management System have background checks performed separately as part of the recruitment process.

Accessing the Background Check Request System

 1. The Background Check System can be accessed at: https://apps.nmu.edu/backgroundCheck.

Background Check Request by Hiring Department

 1. In the New Request section, enter first name, last name and email address for individual needing a background check.

 2. University Affiliation: Click on the downward facing arrow in the right of the box and select the appropriate affiliation, e.g., adjunct instructor, temporary/casual labor, etc.

 3. Department: Click on the downward facing arrow in the right of the box and select the appropriate department.

 4. Click on the Submit button.

Background Check Request to Individual Being Checked

 1. The individual who the background check is for will receive an email notifying them that a criminal background check is required and provides a link to complete the necessary information, e.g., legal name, date of birth, gender, race, current address and states previously lived in within the past seven years.

Background Check Request by the University

 1. Once the individual completes the required information, representatives from Academic Affairs, Human Resources or NMU Police Department will initiate the background check. The University currently uses the Michigan State Police ICHAT (Internet Criminal History Access Tool) which checks criminal history for the past seven years and social security confirmation for the state of Michigan. The Michigan and National Sex Offender Registry are also checked as part of the background check process.

2. If the individual has lived only in Michigan over the past several years, the check will typically be complete within 24 hours or less after the individual has provided the relevant personal information via the system. Checks for individuals who reside/have resided outside of Michigan may take 3-5 days (or more), depending on how quickly the courts can provide the data.

3. The existence of a criminal conviction will not automatically disqualify an individual from employment/appointment or employment consideration. Trained employees in Human Resources and the NMU Police Department will make this determination in accordance with state and federal regulations as well as the Equal Opportunity Commission and Federal Trade Commission requirements.

Background Check Process Completion

1. Once the background check process has been completed and a determination is made about employment, one of the following will occur:
     a. The initiator will receive an email indicating that the background check process has been approved. The initiating department can proceed with completing the appropriate paperwork.

     b. The initiator will receive an email indicating that the background check is not approved.


Date Approved:5-19-2023
Last Revision:5-19-2023
Last Reviewed:5-19-2023
Approved By:President
Attached form file: Background Check Frequently Asked Questions.pdf
Background Check Process & Procedures for Initiators.pdf