北卡罗来纳大学最近实施了一项新政策，要求学生志愿者在与未成年人一起工作时进行背景调查。这些学生志愿者的背景调查与大学对其员工的要求相同。由于每张支票的成本是 50 美元或更多，一些学生担心这一要求可能成为那些希望为社区服务的人的进入障碍。
事实上，UNC 的校内学生报纸The Daily Tarheel最近发表了一篇社论，正式要求改变大学政策。文章写道：“我们敦促大学及其学生事务部承担这些检查的费用，而不是让学生和学生组织承担经济负担。”
一方面，学生质疑新政策和随之而来的成本是有道理的。正如Tarheel 文章所指出的，“公共服务”包含在 UNC 的使命宣言中，其目标是将学生变成“社区的变革者”。社区服务和志愿者机会还提供了学生在课堂上可能无法获得的额外实践经验和整体丰富。
但大学并不便宜。在学费、书本和食宿费用之间，普通大学生现在可能多出 50 美元。因此，UNC 新的志愿者背景调查政策风险背后的费用阻碍了一些学生为社区青年服务的机会。
Indeed, The Daily Tarheel—UNC's on-campus student newspaper—recently published an editorial formally asking for a university policy change. "We urge the University and its Student Affairs department to front the costs for these checks rather than placing the financial burden on the students and student organizations," the article reads.
On one hand, it makes sense that students would question the new policy and the costs that come with it. As the Tarheel article notes, "public service" is including in UNC's mission statement, with the goal of turning students into "change-makers in the community." Community service and volunteer opportunities also offer additional hands-on experience and overall enrichment that students might not be able to get in the classroom.
But college isn't cheap. Between tuition bills, books, and room and board expenses, the average college student might now have $50 extra to spare. As a result, the fees behind UNC's new volunteer background check policy risk are barring some students from the opportunity to serve the community's youth.
On the other hand, checks like these are a must. College students are, in majority, legal adults with histories of their own. Most of these students who would seek to volunteer with children have clean records free of any criminal convictions—as do most students attending UNC or any other college. However, some college students do have histories of violence, sexual assault, drug use, and other serious crimes that can and should call into question their fitness to work one-on-one with minors. The Daily Tarheel editorial called UNC's new background check policy "overzealous," but it's really not any more extreme than the university requiring similar checks for its full-time employees.
The question ultimately comes down to one of cost. Should the university finance background checks for student volunteers wishing to work with minors throughout the community? Or should students pay for those checks, since they are the ones who will be reaping the benefits (and service hours) of community volunteering? Should a compromise be formed somewhere in between, where the university covers half of the background check cost, and students cover the other half?
Another question worth considering is whether or not the university paying for these checks would even help matters. Usually, when a university "covers" a cost of a student service or enrichment opportunity, the expense is just figured into tuition or student fees. In other words, students will probably end up paying for these background check costs either way.