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800.15 Protection of Minors on Campus

University Group Policy #800.15

I.    Executive Summary

Winston-Salem State University (“WSSU” or “University”) strives to create a welcoming and safe environment for all individuals visiting University property or participating in University programs. This Policy on the Protection of Minors (“Policy”) reinforces this expectation by establishing standards, requirements, and procedures that specifically focus on protecting the safety of individuals who are under the age of 18 from abuse and neglect by a parent, guardian, caretaker, or Covered Program Staff member.

II.  Policy Statement

As a matter of University policy and North Carolina State law, any member of the University Community who reasonably suspects that a minor has experienced Child Abuse or Neglect by a parent, guardian, caretaker, or Covered Program Staff member has an absolute obligation to report that suspicion to the EEO Officer or designee. In turn, the EEO Officer or designee will report to the Forsyth County Department of Social Services.

III.     Definitions

Child Abuse or Neglect: The North Carolina Division of Social Services provides that child abuse is “the intentional maltreatment of a child and that can be physical, sexual, or emotional in nature.” DSS provides that neglect is “the failure to give children the necessary care they need.”

Covered Program: A program or activity in which Minors participate that is sponsored by a University Department, a student organization, or a Third Party entity sponsored by a University Department.

Covered Program Staff: All individuals 18 years old or older who work with, instruct, or otherwise come in direct contact with minors in covered program, even if these individuals are volunteers.

Minors: For the purposes of this policy, minors are defined as individuals who are younger than 18 years of age and are participating in a Covered Program. With the exception of the mandatory reporting requirements below, this policy does not apply to students under the age of 18 who are enrolled or matriculated at the University.

University Property: All campus grounds, buildings, facilities, stadiums, or other improvements, that are owned, leased, used, or otherwise controlled by the University.

Third-Party: An organization or individual from outside of the University that uses University facilities to conduct a Covered Program pursuant to an approved contract or other use agreement with a sponsoring University Department and with the prior approval of the Protection of Minors on Campus Coordinator. For example, athletic camps or academic camps. 

University Community or University Community Members: University faculty, staff, unpaid volunteers, interns, students, temporary employees, visiting scholars, and any other University affiliates.

IV.    Guidelines

A.     Registration and Approval.

All Covered Programs must be registered and approved by the appropriate dean or vice chancellor (or approved designee) at least 60 days prior to the initiation of the program or activity. All programs continuously or periodically operating must be approved and registered annually. The registration should include, at a minimum:

  1. A description of the proposed Covered Program;
  2. A responsible party or sponsor for the proposed Covered Program (Sponsor);
  3. The designated university administrator or officer supporting the program;
  4. The period of time for which the Covered Program will operate;
  5. The expected number of employees and/or volunteers involved and minors served;
  6. An acknowledgment of relevant institutional policies, including requirements for background checks, training, insurance, parking access, and facilities use;
  7. An acknowledgment of state mandatory reporting requirements related to suspected abuse or neglect of a minor;
  8. For third party vendors, a statement acknowledging that the constituent institution may monitor compliance with requirements for operating a Covered Program; and
  9. The name or position of the university administrator or officer with responsibility for approving the proposed Covered Program.

B.      Mandatory Background Checks

A background check must be completed for all Covered Program Staff eighteen (18) years of age or older who work with, instruct, or otherwise come into Direct Contact with Minors in a Covered Program (“Program Staff”), even if these individuals are unpaid affiliates such as unpaid volunteers, interns, or “Direct Contact” is defined as care, guidance, control, or supervision of minors in group or one-to-one settings or the potential for one-to-one interaction with minors. These checks must be completed prior to a Covered Program Staff member having any Direct Contact with minors as part of a Covered Program. A background check with a satisfactory outcome must be completed within six (6) months prior to the start of the Covered Program to satisfy this requirement.

This requirement applies to:

  1. All University faculty, staff, students, or unpaid volunteers, interns, and WSSU independent contractors who will serve as Program Staff.
  2. Third-party providers must use a qualified background check vendor according to the sex offender registries, and a mandatory driver’s license check where transporting minors is involved.

C.      Subsequent Background Checks

Covered Program Staff must undergo subsequent background checks at least annually. There are two exceptions pursuant to which a Covered Program Staff member may have subsequent background checks every five (5) years, and required to attest to compliance with background checks annually.

  1. The first exception applies to Covered Program Staff who are also University employees or students and who are continuously employed by or enrolled in the University without any break in their employment or enrollment.
  2. The second exception is for Covered Program Staff members continuously employed by or volunteering for Third Parties who do not have a break in employment or volunteer service that lasts one hundred twenty (120) days or more.

V.    Roles and Responsibilities

Covered Program Staff Training Requirements

Each Covered Program must assure that all Covered Program Staff are trained on policies and issues relevant to the protection of Minors. This training must occur at least annually and must occur prior to any Direct Contact with Minors. The management of a Covered Program may enhance and/or modify the University’s training requirements to meet specific needs of the applicable Covered Program, but such training must include the following minimum components:

  • The University’s Policy on the Protection of Minors;
  • Sexual abuse and sexual harassment;
  • Detection of Child Abuse and Neglect through behavioral signs that Minor victims may exhibit;
  • Protecting Minors from Child Abuse and Neglect by adults;
  • Protecting Minors from abuse and bullying by peers;
  • Laboratory safety for minors (when applicable)

VI.     Applicability

University Community Members (faculty, staff, volunteers, interns, and students), as well as outside third parties (including contractors) who are authorized to use University facilities or property, must comply with this policy.

As used in this Policy the term “Minors” applies to persons under the age of 18 who are not enrolled or matriculated students of the University.

  1. All portions of this Policy apply to the protection of Minors participating in programs sponsored by the University or held on University property, with the exception of students who are enrolled or matriculated at WSSU (“Enrolled Students”).
  2. Enrolled students who are minors are covered by University policies applicable to students and applicable State laws involving the protection of minors and are not subject to the remaining requirements of this Policy.
  3. The “Reporting Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect Procedure” associated with this Policy applies to the protection of all minors (including Enrolled Students) while those minors are present on University property or while participating in Covered Programs.
  4. All contracts for the services of independent contractors (including solo and Third Party contractors) who will have Direct Contact with Minors as part of a Covered Program must include a provision that requires compliance with all of the provisions of this

VII.    Compliance

  1. University Employee: Violations may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment
  2. Unpaid Volunteers, Interns and Visiting Scholars: Violations may result in end of assignment.
  3. University Students: Violations may result in referral to the Dean of Students.
  4. Third-Party Covered Program Staff: Violations may result in disciplinary action that requires immediate removal from Direct Contact with Minors, and /or University property or facility.
  5. Covered Programs: If it is determined that the Covered Program has not complied with any provision of the University’s Policy on the Protection of Minors, the Covered Program may be subject to immediate discontinuation of operation and/or use of University property. At the discretion of the University Coordinator for the Protection of Minors on Campus, the Covered Program may also be banned from future use of university facilities.

Responsible Division: Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff

Authority: Chancellor

History:

  • Adopted: September 11, 2020