Administrative Policy News for June 2020

The University is committed to an inclusive policy-making process. This quarterly communication highlights new or significantly revised administrative policies recently posted for the campus community to offer feedback.

While it's a bit unusual to be talking about travel policy revisions when we have been under travel restrictions due to COVID-19, these past few months were used to conduct a comprehensive review of the existing policy and related documents. New and revised changes to current requirements are proposed to align with external regulations, take advantage of opportunities to enhance the current policy, and to fill any gaps in language.

What's new?

There are several updates in the area of lodging related to travel.

  • Travelers may now use vacation rentals (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.) if there is a cost savings over traditional lodging.
  • Travelers are prohibited from sharing rooms or bedrooms with students, minor children who are not related to the employee, or subordinate employees.
  • Travelers cannot be required to share a room or bedroom unless they choose to do so and the room cost is within the maximum allowable lodging per diem.

Requirements around air travel have also been updated.

  • Basic economy tickets are not recommended. Travelers may choose a seat class one level up from Basic Economy in coach/economy.
  • Regardless of duration, travelers are prohibited from purchasing fare classes that include flatbed seats or private enclosed spaces.
  • Fees to reserve coach/economy seats ahead of check-in are allowed, as is the first piece of baggage within the airlines' weight and size limits.

Nepotism and Personal Relationships

This policy supports the University's commitment to employment and academic practices that are fair, equitable, and free from actual, potential, and perceived conflicts of interest arising out of personal relationships.

Nepotism occurs when a member of the University directly influences the University employment or academic progress of another member of the University with whom they have a personal relationship. It also occurs when a personal relationship between University members that has a negative impact on the University educational or work environment.

In this latest version of the policy, the roles of individuals who are responsible for addressing a nepotism situation are clarified. It also specifies the situations in which the nepotism policy would apply, and in which responsible individuals must act and the steps that responsible individuals should take when they learn about an occurrence of nepotism or potential nepotism.

Safety of Minors

The most vulnerable of audiences are the more than 200,000 minors that are on our campus and in our programs each year. This policy, originally created in 2013, puts in safety measures in the areas of mandatory reporting, background checking, education, health and safety, and the registration of programs for minors. This policy also supports and implements Board of Regents Policy: Safety of Minors and the reporting requirements in Minnesota Statute §626.556.

The latest enhancements

  • The version provides greater clarity as to what is or is not a program covered by this policy (e.g., programs operated by one or two faculty or staff, volunteer experiences in labs/offices/research teams). Enrolled students and one-time information interviews are excluded.
  • It removes the exclusion of youth programs conducted as research.
  • This version specifies that only medication that can be self-administered is permitted during a program.
  • Use of social media with youth outside of formal program communications is prohibited.

We're also pleased to announce that in the past year, a youth safety and compliance manager has been hired and she is heavily engaged in the oversight of the policy and programs.

What is the Policy News?

This is where you will find the latest information on updates to policies, procedures, and more.

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