Safety of Minors
- Interim Vice President, Office of Human Resources
- Executive Vice President and Provost
- Senior Director, Office of Human Resources Operations
- Provost Office Chief of Staff
- Julie Sweitzer
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.
Programs Intended for Minors as Primary Participants
This policy covers any planned event or series of events, activities, or educational experiences offered by academic or administrative units of the University for minors as the primary participants.
The program requirements section of this policy does not apply to:
- Faculty and other teaching personnel who only interact with minors who are registered students in credit-bearing courses, unless a background check is required under Administrative Policy: Background Checks and Verifications;
- Programs 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.
- Work involving minors as human subjects in University research because it is overseen through Institutional Research Board protocols.
Program leaders whose unit (campus, college, or department) is sponsoring an event or program primarily intended for minors are required to register the event/group on the designated Safety of Minors website 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.
B. Background Checking
Program staff must complete a University of Minnesota criminal 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. 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 program staff are excluded from the background check requirement unless they are staying overnight:
- program staff who visit minors 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;
- program staff for programs that host minors on campus in groups where the minors are under the supervision, care and control of teachers, parents, or other adult chaperones from the minors' school or organization; and
- volunteers and temporary, seasonal, or 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 criminal 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 activities with minors. The course covers abuse awareness, safeguards for minors, and mandatory reporting requirements. Individual programs may choose to provide additional training in these areas. 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.
Non-University Organizations Using University Facilities
Non-University organizations (e.g., sports camps) 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 the criminal background check that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of this policy. 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 sending' 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 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 Statute Â§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.
|Primary Contact(s)||Julie Sweitzeremail@example.com|
|Crookston: Report suspicious behavior or activity, Policy Contact||Gary Willhitefirstname.lastname@example.org
|Duluth: Report suspicious behavior or activity||Sean Huls||218-726-7000||UMD Police Department|
|Duluth: Policy Contact||Wendy Larrivyemail@example.com|
|Morris: Report suspicious behavior or activity||Robert Velde||320-589-6000||Morris Campus Police|
|Morris: Policy Contact||Sarah Mattsonfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Rochester: : Report suspicious behavior or activity, Policy Contact||Jeffrey Ratliff-Crainemail@example.com|
|Mandatory reporting/serious emergencies/criminal behavior||Mandatory reporting/serious emergencies/criminal behavior||911|
|Anonymous/confidential reporting of legal/policy violations||Toll Free Outside Reporting Service||1-866-294-8680||UReport|
|Policy clarification||Policy Ownerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Legal Questions||General Counselemail@example.com|
|Health and Safety Concerns||Dept. of Environmental Health and Safetyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Minors in laboratories or other potentially hazardous areas (all campuses)||Michael Austinemail@example.com
DEHS Laboratory Safety Administrative Controls
- Adverse Action
- Any action that might deter a reasonable person from engaging in reporting suspected or alleged misconduct, expressing opposition to alleged misconduct, participating in an investigation related to a misconduct allegation, or accessing the Office for Conflict Resolution services. Examples of adverse action include, but are not limited to: impeding the individual’s academic advancement; departing from any customary academic or employment practice regarding the individual; firing, refusing to hire, or refusing to promote the individual; transferring or assigning the individual to a lesser position in terms of wages, hours, job classification, job security, employment or academic status; and threatening or marginalizing an individual. In some situations, retaliatory conduct may also include inappropriate disclosure of the identity of the individual who has made a complaint protected by this policy.
- A person who accompanies and looks after a minor(s).
- Criminal Background Check
- A review of state and federal criminal databases to determine whether an individual has a criminal history in any jurisdiction where the individual currently resides or has resided.
- Direct Contact
- Positions that involve the possibility of providing care, supervision, guidance or control of minors and/or routine interaction with minors.
- Good Faith Participation
- Reporting, or otherwise expressing opposition to, misconduct based on a reasonable belief that misconduct has occurred. Or, honestly participating in an investigation of misconduct or accessing conflict resolution services.
- An adult who looks after and who is legally responsible for a minor.
- Any act taken on University property or in connection with any University related group or activity that endangers the physical and/or mental health or safety of an individual (including, without limitation, an act intended to cause personal degradation or humiliation) or that destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation in, admission to, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or the practice of rituals and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group or organization.
- The steps taken to analyze all relevant information regarding an allegation and then determine whether sufficient evidence exists to find that misconduct occurred.
- A person under the age of eighteen (18).
- A violation of local, state, or federal law or University policy.
- National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW)
- The Government website that links public state, territorial, and tribal sex offender registries from a national search site. The NSOPW provides up-to-date information as provided by each jurisdiction.
- Usually the failure of the minor's caregiver to:
- Provide necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical or mental health care, education or appropriate supervision;
- protect the child from conditions or actions that endanger the child;
- take steps to ensure that the child is educated according to the law.
Causing emotional harm to a child and exposing a child to controlled substances during pregnancy may also be considered neglect.
- One-On-One Contact
- Personal, unsupervised interaction between any program staff and a participant without at least one other program staff, parent or legal guardian being present.
- Overnight Stay
- A program is considered to include an overnight stay if the activities extend into the late evening hours and into the period normally considered to be overnight (past midnight). This definition applies regardless of whether the minors participating in the program are intended to sleep or be involved in any other type of program activity.
- Physical Abuse
- Any physical injury or threat of harm or substantial injury, inflicted by a caregiver upon a child other than by accidental means. The impact of physical abuse can range from minor bruises to severe internal injuries and death. Physical abuse does not include reasonable and moderate physical discipline of a child that does not result in an injury.
- Alter: This is when a caregiver causes any physical injury, or threatens harm or substantial injury, on a child other than by accident. Physical abuse can range from minor bruises to severe internal injuries and death.
- A planned event or series of events, activities, or educational experiences offered by academic or administrative units of the University for minors as the primary participants. This includes but is not limited to volunteers or interns in laboratories, workshops, sport camps, academic camps, conferences, pre-enrollment visits, 4H or extension programs and similar activities. It does not include programs designed for students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs, except programs or events designed solely for participants in Post-Secondary Enrollment Options.
- Program Leader
- Individual responsible for the oversight and compliance components of a covered program(s). Specifies the identification requirement for their program staff (badges or equivalent).
- Program Staff
- All individuals, paid or unpaid, who work or volunteer in a covered program and regularly interact with, supervise, chaperone or otherwise oversee minors in program activities or recreational and/or residential facilities. This includes faculty, staff (including student employees), volunteers and other individuals.
- Report in Good Faith
- A report by an individual who reasonably believes that a violation has occurred.
- Taking an adverse action against an individual because of the individual’s good faith participation in reporting suspected or alleged misconduct, expressing opposition to alleged misconduct, participating in an investigation related to a misconduct allegation, or accessing the Office for Conflict Resolution services (see also Adverse Action). A causal relationship between good faith participation in reporting and an adverse action is needed to demonstrate that retaliation has occurred.
- Sexual Abuse
- The subjection of a child to a criminal sexual act or threatened act by a person responsible for the child's care or by a person who has a significant relationship to the child or is in a position of authority.
- Sex and Violent Offender Registry Check
- A review of the Sex and Violent Offender Registry to determine whether an individual has any undisclosed convictions for sexual assault or abuse or violent crimes.
- Sponsorship by the University
- Any program funded, controlled or conducted by the University for or involving minors. This term does not include programs serving minors who are accompanied by parents or adult chaperones.
- The University’s hotline where community members can report suspected misconduct. The report can be made anonymously.
- Any organizational entity within the University that has budgetary authority. A unit includes, but is not limited to, colleges, departments, center, institutions, offices and programs.
- University Community
- University faculty, staff (including student employees), students,University guests, volunteers, contractors, vendors, or employees of an affiliated entity.
- University Property/Facilities
- Includes all outdoor areas on University property as well as any enclosed area of a structure or portion thereof, where the structure is owned and/or being occupied or operated by the University of Minnesota. This also includes the residence halls.
- All Individuals
- Report good faith concerns about possible violations of physical or sexual abuse, or neglect to local, state, or federal law or University policy governing any University activity. Must be truthful and cooperative in investigations of alleged wrongdoing.
- Program Staff (faculty, staff, volunteers, and student employees)
- Must meet the eligibility requirements for participation in a program for minors (complete the background check and training course prior to participating in activities with minors.) Complete background check and training every three years. Must comply with health and safety measures and safeguards.
- Program Leader
- Ensure that all program staff have successfully completed their background checks (both initially and every three years thereafter) and required training prior to involving them in one or more programs for minors. Submit background check forms to OHR. Register new programs and renew annually. Establish safeguards that adequately address health and safety considerations for minors.
- Register their programs onthe U-Wide program site and ensure program leaders are complying with the policy.
- Chancellors and Executive Vice President and Provost
- Identify an individual/unit who will be responsible for managing program registration and verification on each campus.
- Deans, Vice Presidents, Chancellors, Vice Chancellors
- Ensure timely follow-up and resolution of reported allegations in respective college or unit. Ensure that retaliation in response to the good faith reporting of violations of law or University policy does not occur. Assure that programs under their administration are complying with the policy.
- Designated Official
- Individuals from participating schools must ensure that their employees or volunteers who accompany minors to the event are in compliance with Minnesota state law with respect to background and training.
- Chief Compliance Officer
- Administer UReport, a confidential reporting service. Work collaboratively with responsible offices to address reported allegations of misconduct and communicate results of these efforts according to established procedures. Coordinate with the General Counsel and the Chief Auditor in communicating potential serious violations to the President and the Board of Regents.
- General Counsel
- Conduct investigations where the assertions of the attorney-client privilege and/or other legal issues require the General Counsel's involvement. Consult and coordinate with the Chief Auditor and Chief Compliance Officer as appropriate. Advise human resources staff with review of background check results and determination of eligibility. Communicate with the President and the Board of Regents regarding potential serious legal violations.
- Human Resource Liaison
- Collaborate with responsible administrators to respond to concerns about retaliation or unfair treatment of individuals for having reported in good faith suspected violations of law or University policy.
- Non-University Organizations
- Certify that the training and criminal background checks specified in this policy have been completed by their program staff. Protect the health and safety of minors participating in their programs.
- Office of Human Resources (OHR)
- Advise units as to whether individuals are eligible to participate in University-sponsored programs for minors, based on background verifications. Facilitate the background verification process through outside vendors for units.
- University Police Department or Local Law Enforcement
- Handle all suspected or known violations of law.
- Vice President for Human Resources
- Respond to concerns of retaliation and appoint Human Resources Liaison to protect against retaliation. Annually notify employees of responsibility to report concerns and where to report them.
Board of Regents Policies
Administrative Policies and Procedures
- Administrative Policy: Background Checks and Verifications
- Administrative Procedure: Conducting Background Checks and Verifications
- Administrative Policy: Reporting Suspected Misconduct
- Administrative Policy: Retaliation
- December 2018 - Comprehensive Review. The changes primarily provide clarity of existing policy requirements. There is added language in the Health and Safety Appendix regarding accessible and inclusive environments, and addressing gender identity in housing.
- July 2017 - Minor Revision. The section on Retaliation has been updated to be consistent with core language in Administrative Policy: Retaliation.
- November 2014 - Major Revision. Comprehensive Review: Provides key implementation materials (registration instructions and tool, core training, and guidelines for health and safety.) Specifies the applicability of the requirements to non-University entities hosting events for k-12 schools. Clarifies OHR's role in the hiring decision as it relates to interpreting the background check results. Covers details around guest speakers or guests of programs, and emphasizes the inclusion of student employees.
- September 2013 - New Policy. 1. Fulfills a commitment made to the Board of Regents in October 2012, and supports the new Board of Regents Policy: Safety of Minors by providing the details and processes directing individuals and units that host or have contact with minors. 2. Identifies the necessary steps for notification when child abuse or suspected child abuse if encountered. 3. Requires at least annual registration of programs; and specifies that background checking and training occur every three years. 4. Articulates the same training and background checking expectations for individual from non-University entities using University facilities.