Preparing For Your Placement


Click on the corresponding button below for information specific to your placement.

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If you are a staff or faculty member in a Brown department, please click below for important information:

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The Swearer Center provides training, background and clearance check support to students participating in any of our Swearer-affiliated programs, opportunities and fellowships* every fall and spring semester. Swearer-affiliated students must complete their compliance onboarding on these days or they risk being unable to engage at their site. This is an in-person process that takes ~20-30 minutes. Swearer-affiliated students engaging with partner organizations that require a background check and other clearance processes (e.g for working with minors, etc.) are required to have relevant designated clearances completed prior to their engagement.

A few important considerations:

  • Clearance forms and background checks must be renewed every 12 months.
  • Due to state law, the Swearer Center or Attorney General's Office will not be able to process a RI State Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) background check on your behalf until you turn 18 years of age. Therefore, students will not be able to engage until they turn 18. Please contact your supervisor for specific policies regarding volunteers under the age of 18 before you begin your engagement.

*Swearer affiliated students include those in Swearer Fellowships, Off-Campus Federal Work Study, Brown Tutoring Corps, Brown Engage Internship Opps, CBLR Courses with Community Partners, Engaged Course Mini-Grant recipients and ESC Practicum.

Swearer Center’s Commitment to Non-Discrimination

The Swearer Center acknowledges that discrimination based on criminal records perpetuates the marginalization of formerly incarcerated people and that the impacts of this discrimination fall most heavily on communities of color. It is in response to this sort of discrimination that measures such as “Ban the Box” have been passed (in Rhode Island enacted in 2014). While we must comply with state law, we are committed to giving full consideration to each volunteer whether or not there are any arrests listed on their BCI. We recognize that BCIs construct a notion of safety that relies on the labeling of people according to their interactions with law enforcement officials and the criminal justice system. This results in an incomplete and often distorted picture of a person.

It is with this understanding in mind that the Swearer Center has adopted the following policies when it comes to reviewing BCIs.

  • We will not consider “hits” on a BCI unless the nature of the offense relates directly to the type of work required in the volunteer position.
  • We will provide any student whose BCI comes back with a “hit” with a copy of their BCI so that they can identify any inaccuracies and provide context to the listed “hits.”
  • Staff of the Swearer Center will review these with students on a case-by-case basis to ensure that students who want to be involved with Swearer are able to do so. 
  • We will ensure that a limited number of Swearer staff will read the BCI so that this information will remain as private and confidential as possible.
  • We will only require BCIs when explicitly required by law, or by the partner organization. 
  • We will reevaluate these policies at the beginning of each semester, and will communicate policy changes to the Swearer Center Student Advisory Committee before finalizing them.