Background Check in Recent Yale Student Murder Case

With recent murder cases in the news, one aspect that always comes up is, could this have been prevented with a background check? In the case of murderous reality TV contestant on Megan Wants a Millionaire, the Canadian contestant’s previous assault charge of the now-victim didn’t show up on the background check the show ran. More recently, the murder of a Yale University med student by a lab tech has called into question how thorough the school’s background check policy is. According to the linked article, it appears that Yale runs a thorough background check on all employees, whether they are professors or lab techs.

How thorough should a background check for a lab tech be in comparison to that of a professor? As seen in previous posts, teachers have been submitting to fingerprinted background checks to be thoroughly checked for criminal history. In this instance, being thorough isn’t a waste of time or money, as the teachers interact with the public – or a large student body, in this case. A lab tech, however, doesn’t really interact with the public. In the case of the murderer in the Yale case, he interacted with animals. Logically, he would only need a basic background check. As he hadn’t had a significant criminal history, his background check probably came back with positive results.

Can a background check predict whether an employee will do well on the job? As seen in some cases, no, as even someone with a perfect background check may steal from the company. Background checks, essentially, report a person’s basic information, educational and employment history, and criminal records. But, when all of this is clean and without question, what do you do then? At this point, especially for this case, a background check is almost irrelevant and the behavior of an employee on the job at Yale is more significant.