To help ensure a safe and enjoyable Zimfest experience for all participants, the Zimfest Association Board of Directors recently developed a Zimfest Code of Conduct. To further ensure a safe environment for Zimfest participants, the Board also approved mandatory criminal background checks for Zimfest 2019 teachers. Criminal background checks are standard practice at many non-profit organizations, which can be held legally liable for any misconduct resulting from a failure to conduct background checks.
The Zimfest Association has selected Coeus Global, which specializes in serving non-profit organizations at affordable prices, to provide background checks. For individuals with US social security numbers, the search will include two items: (1) the United States National Criminal Database (which covers felonies but not misdemeanors) and (2) the United States Nationwide Sex Offender registry. The Board is investigating options for individuals who do not have social security numbers.
Individuals applying to teach at Zimfest 2019 need do nothing at this point regarding background checks. After an applicant has been selected as a teacher, they will be provided a link to the Zimfest portal on the Coeus Global website, to sign a release for the background check and enter personal information. The period of time a background check report may cover differs by state; with Zimfest 2019 being held in Oregon, this period is unlimited (other states may, for example, limit background check reports to the 7 years prior to the current date). To be employed as a Zimfest teacher, a “clear” criminal background report will be required.
As part of our commitment to transparency and safety, members of the Zimfest Board of Directors will also undergo background checks this year. Following this pilot program, the Board will evaluate expanding criminal background checks to additional groups (e.g., Festival Organizing Committee and other volunteers). Our paramount goal is to provide the best experience for everyone as we come together at Zimfest to enjoy and share the music that we love.
—Zimfest Association Board of Directors