The University has historically provided a safe environment for minors (persons under the age of 18) and is committed to continued vigilance.
All University employees, including student employees, and volunteers are required to report to the local police department (including the University Police Departments), county sheriff or local social services agency within 24 hours when they know or have reason to believe a minor is being physically or sexually abused or neglected, or has been within the past three years, including abuse and neglect by non-University persons. This includes all minors, students and non-students:
- participating in University-sponsored programs that are held on or off University property;
- enrolled in undergraduate and graduate academic programs at the University; or
- participating in programs operated by non-University organizations on University property.
While Minnesota law requires reporting by certain professionals at the University, such as educators (including faculty, instructors, researchers, coaches and deans), health care providers, social workers, and others, the University by policy extends this reporting obligation to all University faculty, staff (including student employees) and volunteers.
After reporting to authorities, individuals are encouraged to notify their supervisor, if appropriate.
Any planned event or series of events, activities, or educational experiences offered by University faculty or staff, or academic or administrative units of the University that is intended for minors as the primary participants must comply with the following requirements. This includes but is not limited to academic, sport and recreational camps, 4H, conferences, volunteer experiences in laboratories or offices, and participating on research teams. Such events, activities, and experiences will be referred to as ‘Programs’ in this policy.
Program leaders are required to register the program on the designated Safety of Minors website, called YouthCentral, prior to the start of the event. The purpose of registration is for each Program to confirm it has addressed safety of minors in its planning and complied with the requirements of this policy. For units that regularly conduct Programs for minors on or off University property (child care centers, annual summer camp programs, etc.), a single annual filing is sufficient. Each registration is good for one year, and must be renewed annually if the Program continues. Program leaders are responsible for informing their unit head and obtaining approval for the Program prior to registration.
B. Background Checking
Program staff must complete and pass the University of Minnesota background check, which includes a check of the National Sex Offender Public Registry ("sex offender registry"). The background check must be completed within three years prior to working with minors. Program staff whose service with the University or a covered program is interrupted for more than twelve months must undergo a new background check before working with minors. Program staff with continuing service with the University or a covered program must undergo a new background check every three years.
Program leaders are responsible for ensuring that the background check request forms have been submitted on each of the adult program staff. Based on the information obtained through the criminal background checks, Office of Human Resources (OHR) staff will advise units as to whether individuals are eligible to participate in University-sponsored programs for minors.
The following staff are excluded from the background check requirement unless the Program staff is staying overnight:
- staff who engage with minors on or off campus in settings where minors are under the supervision, care and control of teachers, parents or other adult chaperones from the minors' school or organization;
- volunteers and student employees who:
- will not have unsupervised contact with minors, and
- are under the direct supervision of a program staff member who has successfully completed a background check, and
- represent in writing that they are not on the sex offender registry.
- guest presenters if Program staff remain in the room.
The cost of the background check will be charged to the requesting unit(s).
Program staff who are required to have a background check must also complete a University-wide web-based training course called Safety of Minors, found in Training Hub, prior to participating in the Program for minors. The course includes abuse awareness, safeguards for minors, and mandatory reporting requirements. Individual programs may choose to provide additional training. Completion of this training is required, at a minimum, every three years.
D. Health and Safety
University-operated programs must comply with the health and safety measures required in Appendix: Health and Safety Requirements for Programs Involving Minors.
For a summary of responsibilities under this policy, please see Registration Grid.
The Program requirements listed in A.-D. above, do not apply to:
- activities designed for students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate courses (including PSEO students) or activities that are part of the enrollment process, including Orientation and Welcome Week. This means that faculty and other teaching personnel who only interact with minors who are registered students in credit-bearing courses are not required to get a background check and training, unless a background check is otherwise required under Administrative Policy: Background Checks and Verifications;
- activities that are open to the general public where minors are only incidentally present, generally with an adult. Typical examples are public lectures, athletic events, museums, arboretum/nature centers, and theaters; and
- one-time informational interviews or tours.
Non-University Organizations Using University Facilities
Non-University organizations that operate Programs or activities primarily intended for minors on campus or in a University facility, where minors attend without an accompanying adult or when the Program includes an overnight stay, must certify to the University that:
- all individuals who will have ongoing interaction with minors (and anyone who supervises such individuals) have received training and have undergone a background check that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of this policy. (The UMN background check includes these items.) Note that the exceptions set forth in the Background Checking section above also apply to non-University organizations; and
- non-University organizations are responsible for taking appropriate actions to protect the health and safety of minors. The University of Minnesota reserves the right to review the health and safety plans for a program or event.
When non-University organizations conduct a Program or event in a University facility where minors attend as part of a team or group and are accompanied by coaches, teachers or group leaders from the minors’ school or organization, the accompanying coaches, teachers and/or group leaders are responsible for the supervision of the participating minors. At its discretion, the University unit providing the facility may request a specific staff to minor ratio before entering into the agreement to provide access to University facilities.
Compliance with Policy and Protection from Retaliation
All University employees and volunteers must comply with Board of Regents Policy: Safety of Minors, this administrative policy, and any applicable federal, state, and local laws. Non-compliance may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
Programs may be suspended during an investigation or discontinued, if serious violations of this policy have occurred. The University of Minnesota Police Department or local law enforcement will handle all suspected or known violations of law.
No member of the University community may retaliate against an individual because of the individual’s good faith participation in:
- reporting or otherwise expressing opposition to, suspected or alleged misconduct;
- participating in any process designed to review or investigate suspected or alleged misconduct or non-compliance with applicable policies, rules, and laws; or
- accessing the Office for Conflict Resolution (OCR) services.
A causal relationship between the good faith participation in one of these activities and an adverse action is needed to demonstrate that retaliation has occurred.
Reporting Retaliation Concerns
Individuals who believe that retaliation is occurring or has occurred, as a result of their good faith participation in one of the above referenced activities, should follow the reporting options available to them in Administrative Policy: Reporting Suspected Misconduct.
Reports of retaliation will be reviewed and investigated in the same manner in which other concerns of misconduct are handled. Any University member who engages in retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or expulsion.
Intentionally False Reports/Information
Individuals who knowingly or intentionally file a false report or provide false or misleading information in connection with an investigation may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment, or expulsion.
This policy does not apply to a parent, guardian, or other adult who is accompanying a minor while participating in a program and who is not a volunteer or staff for that program.
Only in rare and unusual situations will an exception to this policy be granted. Individuals may submit a written request to the policy owner who will forward the request to the Vice President of Human Resources. The Vice President of Human Resources, in consultation with the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Office of General Counsel (or their delegates), will be responsible for determining whether an exception to the policy will be granted. If the request is from a system campus other than the Twin Cities campus, the appropriate Chancellor will be consulted in reaching a decision whether to grant an exception.
Reason for Policy
To implement Board of Regents Policy: Safety of Minors and the reporting requirements found in Minnesota Statutes § 626.556 (Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors). It is the University's responsibility to put in place operational rules and controls for facilities and programs that reduce the risk of harm to minors. This policy and related guidance incorporate both University-wide requirements as well as expectations for individual programs.