A University Recreation Center employee’s uncertainties about a member’s ankle monitor and suspicious behavior led to the arrest of a 35-year-old accused pedophile on Aug. 8.Ruben Edwards Jr. violated his bond conditions, which are linked to a past arrest on Aug. 1, 2005 for exposing himself to a young female, by coming within 100 ft. of children at the Rec Center.
But maybe even more distressing than the mere presence of a pedophile in a community-geared facility right here on our very own campus, is that Edwards, who has no affiliation with the university, was never subject to a background check, much less asked for a picture ID when applying for a community membership.
As reported in Wednesday’s Skiff, all university staff members and volunteers who have contact with students are subject to background checks, which are paid for by Human Resources. But here’s the kicker: Human Resources’ department policy prohibits background checks on nonemployees and requires consent from employees before the check is performed.
Steve Kintigh, director of Campus Recreation, said background checks are cost prohibitive and might be considered an invasion of privacy by some members.
Wait. So the privacy of nonemployees, who are not paid by the university or do not pay tuition to the university, outweighs the safety and well-being of those who do?
The goal should not be to protect the rights of those who wish to become part of the institution and its community, but to safeguard those who already have.
Just as a landlord requires a potential tenant to pay an application fee, TCU should include a mandatory fee in the community membership application to pay for background checks.
In doing so, students, faculty, and nonemployees alike, will exercise under a more vigilant and cautious system.
Editor in chief Amy Hallford for the editorial board