Policy goes national

” A controversial policy allowing the University of Akron to require DNA testing from potential employees has quickly gained the attention of national media and the ACLU. Matt Williams, who resigned Saturday from his position as assistant lecturer at UA in protest of the new policy, said CBS, the Christian Science Monitor, the Columbus Dispatch and the Akron Beacon Journal have contacted him since news of the policy appeared in the Buchtelite Tuesday.”

A controversial policy allowing the University of Akron to require DNA testing from potential employees has quickly gained the attention of national media and the ACLU.

Matt Williams, who resigned Saturday from his position as assistant lecturer at UA in protest of the new policy, said CBS, the Christian Science Monitor, the Columbus Dispatch and the Akron Beacon Journal have contacted him since news of the policy appeared in the Buchtelite Tuesday.

Laura Massie, director of media relations for the university, said Wednesday that she had fielded many calls about the policy, which was approved at the UA board of trustees meeting Aug. 5.
UA has not DNA-tested any prospective employees, nor do we have plans to in the future, she said.

DNA testing was included in the background check policy because there have been national discussions that indicate that in the future, reliance on fingerprinting will diminish and DNA for criminal identification will be the more prominent technology, she said.

The university is merely reserving the right to ask for DNA testing. We are not requiring it, Massie said.

She said if and when the university decides to test a potential employee, the type of test, who gives it and who would have access to the information would be decided at that time.

She explained that by including DNA testing in the policy, the university has the flexibility to match the technology if the Ohio State Highway Patrol makes changes to its system.

According to Massie, law enforcement is discussing possible ways to use this technology to do background checks on people applying for police positions, including those at the university.

Should those changes to national practice occur, UA would be allowed the flexibility to adopt the new technology if we found it necessary, she said.

As of press time, CBS news blogger, Declan McCullagh published a lengthy post about the issue.