Delaware State University has conducted an audit of its hiring procedures and of the financial transactions of the College of Education, Health and Public Policy, in lieu of the July resignation of Freddie A. Asinor, the university’s former dean of the College of Education, Health and Public Policy.
Asinor resigned after less than a year on the job and, according to news reports, was found to have had two felony convictions on his record that slipped past the school’s administration during his hiring process.
DSU’s audit committee determined that standard procedures had been followed during all new hires from June 2012 through July 2013, according to a statement made by the university.
In the case of the audit of the financial transactions of the College of Education, Health and Public Policy, a process which is done after any dean leaves, no fraud or theft or abuse was found, the statement said. The audit also determined that standard operating procedure was followed, with the exception of a few minor discrepancies, said Jose Echeverrí, DSU Board of Trustees member and chair of the board Audit Committee. Echeverri referred to the college’s turning in a non-itemized receipt as a minor discrepancy.
After conducting an audit of background check procedures Echeverri recommended to the board of trustees that stricter background checks be implemented.
Prior to a change in policy, the university conducted regional criminal background checks on potential new hires. The new policy takes that procedure a step further, Echeverri said.
“I recommended, and it has been approved by the board of trustees, to go to national background checks,” he said. “Secondly, within that, when hiring specific positions like deans, directors, vice presidents, finance personnel and presidents, wherever there is a line item budget, they will have, at our request, the ability to enhance those checks.”
Those enhanced checks could mean everything from additional questioning of candidates, to running an FBI-level background check.
National background checks cost two to three times what a regional background check costs, but Echeverri says it’s money well spent.
“I believe by going to enhanced national format we should get a better overview of the individuals coming into our work environment versus the regional checks,” he said. “The national is able to really find a whole lot more information on people.”
Rep. Darryl M. Scott (D-Dover), who is a member of the Delaware House of Representatives’ Education Committee, said DSU is on the right track.
“Well, I think any of us would say we had wished the hiring issue hadn’t taken place at all, but steps are being taken to review procedures to show they had reviewed their process,” Scott said. “The changes they are suggesting with national background check and looking at people who have access to money and sensitive info is a positive thing. I think the steps they’ve taken are on the right track and will hopefully prevent this from reoccurring in the future.”
Page 2 of 2 - Some at DSU question whether these new steps will be enough.
“I think it’s better that they are doing more,” said Delaware State University student Amber Beck. “But maybe they could do more. If they missed that, who knows what else they’ve missed.”
The university does not have any immediate plans to run all current employees through the new background checks, Echeverri said.
“We have rules and regulations and bargaining agreements,” he said. “Those are personnel issues that need to be addressed before we go back and do anything. We need to contemplate and make sure we’re going forward properly.”
When asked if current staff should be vetted under the new standards, DSU student Anthony Butcher felt it wouldn’t be fair.
“I think that would be discriminating,” he said. “They do the job without it and now they should be based on their job performance, not their history.”