Possession of stolen property. Applying for a false social insurance number. Uttering false documents. Fraud.
The uncovering of Meghan Melnyk’s criminal history, some of it racked up while she was on the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University’s executive committee, begs one question.
Why wasn’t this information discovered before she took office?
The answer is pretty simple — there was no criminal background check.
In fact, there never is. You can’t get a job at McDonalds without having your criminal record (or, hopefully, lack thereof) pried into, yet SAMRU doesn’t require incoming student executives to be screened.
Unlike most McDonalds employees though, SAMRU executives handle a yearly budget of about $7-million dollars.
The Students’ Association does use a series of checks and balances, including two periodic reviews which found the “financial anomalies” seemingly correlated to Melnyk’s resignation.
However, they could have saved themselves and the entire student body a lot of grief had they been aware of Melnyk’s criminal activities before she even started.
There’s little doubt most aspiring SAMRU presidents could pass a background check with flying colours, but Melnyk has proven personal charisma does not guarantee trustworthiness.
A clean background check doesn’t guarantee trustworthiness, either. But, had such a check been performed on Melnyk before she ran as VP external, she never would have been allowed to join the executive committee.
Because the Students’ Association refused to release the details of Melnyk’s resignation, it’s not known if she stole money from them.
Still, phrases like “potential anomalies and policy compliance issues” and “council did not have sufficient confidence that its highest standards had been applied,” certainly hint that it wasn’t a simple accounting error.
Michelle Dennis, SAMRU VP external, said on March 2 they are “looking at implementing further measures specifically around having individuals be more accountable.”
We’re very interested to hear what exactly those measures might entail — hopefully SAMRU will see fit to share that information with us.