Faculty Misconduct Reference Check

Faculty Misconduct Reference Checks

The Ohio State University believes in diversity in people and ideas. What Ohio State does matters. And how we do it matters. When we are at our best, we make a real difference to people. We believe that the university should be a place where people can work and learn together in a safe environment, free of violence, harassment, discrimination, exploitation, and intimidation.

The faculty misconduct reference check allows Ohio State to

  • Hire highly qualified candidates for tenured faculty positions who have the potential to make a positive contribution to Ohio State’s academic community
  • Uphold the values of Ohio State, protect our community, and reduce risk to the university
  • Identify candidates who are under investigation for or who have been found to have engaged in misconduct (e.g., research misconduct, sexual harassment, workplace violence, financial fraud), which will enable Ohio State to consider the implications of this information in its hiring decisions
  • Protect candidate privacy, to the extent possible, by creating a centrally-managed process that includes a consistent review of prior and pending investigations

Prior to the beginning of the tenure review, the finalist for any faculty position that carries tenure must sign an authorization and disclosure form, which will allow current or prior employer(s) to share information with the university regarding any findings of employment-related misconduct or disciplinary proceedings against a candidate and/or any pending investigations related to alleged misconduct. Such information shall include findings and pending investigations with respect to sexual harassment, violence, or harassment; research misconduct; financial fraud or misconduct; foreign influence violations, grant misuse or misconduct; and/or any other type of finding or pending investigation relating to a candidate’s employer’s policies and rules governing faculty conduct that may reasonably be expected to affect a candidate’s appointment.

If the University becomes aware of any past finding of misconduct or pending investigations that were not disclosed, Ohio State will treat that as a serious omission and reserves the right to rescind an offer or terminate employment. 

Process

  1. Signed authorization

    For any position that carries tenure (tenured associate professors and professors—including chairs, deans, and executive-level positions), the relevant dean’s office will collect an authorization and disclosure form from each finalist before they participate in on-campus interviews. This form permits the applicant’s current and former employer(s) to share information with Ohio State about final findings of employment-related misconduct or disciplinary proceedings against the applicant and/or any pending investigations.

  2. Reference check

    The college will share the name of the finalist with the vice provost for academic policy and faculty resources, who will contact the candidate’s current and past employer(s). The authorization and disclosure form will be kept on file in the Office of Academic Affairs.

    1. If the employer provides Ohio State information indicating no findings, disciplinary proceedings, or pending investigations, the vice provost for academic policy and faculty resources will inform the dean.
    2. If the employer provides Ohio State information indicating that there are findings, disciplinary proceedings, or pending investigations; or insufficient information has been disclosed providing an incomplete record of applicant’s history, the university will review and evaluate the information and make a decision about next steps.
  3. Candidate's responsibility

    In addition to the request for information from an applicant’s current and past employer(s), language will be included in each letter of offer indicating the candidate’s responsibility to disclose any previous findings and/or pending investigations and indicating that failure to disclose such findings or pending investigations could lead to immediate termination.