Skip to main content

Weather-Related Announcement

Close

All 2/21/2020 classes are on a regular schedule.
See the full weather update

University Policy 126

Protection of Minors on Campus

Initially Approved:  September 10, 2019

Policy Topic:  Protection of Minors on Campus
Administering Office:  Risk Management

I. POLICY STATEMENT

It is the policy of Western Carolina University to implement standards and procedures for the protection of minors participating in programs and activities that are occurring on its campus and for programs and activities that are under the control or direction of the University, regardless of location.

II. SCOPE AND APPLICATION OF POLICY

This policy applies to the presence of minors on University property in Cullowhee and any other instructional sites or facilities under the University’s operational control. This policy is consistent with and complementary to Policy 71 and UNC Policy 1300.10 Protection of Minors on Campus.

With the exception of the mandatory reporting requirements in section VII., below, this policy does not apply to students under the age of 18 who are enrolled or matriculated at the University, or who are enrolled in The Catamount School pursuant to N.C.G.S. llSC-238.50 et seq.

III. DEFINITIONS

Covered Programs: Activities or programs primarily serving or including minors and either:

  1. Conducted by the University, whether located on university property or elsewhere; or
  2. Conducted by a third-party individual or organization on university property.

Examples of Covered Programs include, but are not limited to: academic camps, athletic camps, and other enrichment programs, whether daytime only or overnight programs.

The University has discretion in determining whether a program or activity is a Covered Program, after considering the nature of the program, the duration and location of the program, and the nature and level of interaction university employees, volunteers or contractors will have with the minors participating in the program or activity. 

Covered Programs generally do not include:

  • externally sponsored field trips or visits that bring minors on to University property;
  • programs or events that are open to the general public, such as concerts or theatrical performances;
  • programs designed exclusively for students enrolled or matriculated at the constituent institution;
  • school-related activities initiated and conducted by K-12 schools and supervised by employees thereof, including end-of-grade testing, social activities, field days, etc.

Covered Individuals: All individuals 18 years old or older, including employees, volunteers, and students of WCU and owners, employees, and external organizations operating a Covered Program, who work closely with, supervise, instruct, or otherwise come into direct, non-incidental contact with minors in a Covered Program.

Invited guest speakers, guest lecturers, or guest instructors whose interaction with minors is limited and only in the presence of a Covered Individual, are not required to be considered Covered Individuals.

External Organization: An organization or individual from outside of the University that uses University Property to conduct a Covered Program pursuant to an approved contract or other use agreement with the University.

Minors: 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 in section VII., below, this policy does not apply to students under the age of 18 who are enrolled or matriculated at the University, or who are enrolled in The Catamount School pursuant to N.C.G.S. llSC-238.50 et seq.

Program Organizer: The External Organization, recognized student organization, or University department, unit, or employee that organizes or is responsible for the overall administration of a Covered Program.

Student Minors: Students under the age of 18 who are enrolled or matriculated at the University or who are enrolled in The Catamount School pursuant to N.C.G.S. llSC-238.50 et seq.

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

University-sponsored:  Under the direction and control of University employees acting under assigned job responsibilities.

IV. REGISTRATION AND APPROVAL

All Covered Programs must be registered and approved by the University prior to the initiation of the program or activity.  The registration process shall be routed through the University Department charged with managing and supervising the University Property to be used.  The appropriate University Department shall, at minimum, collect the following information during registration:

  • A description of the proposed Covered Program;
  • A Program Organizer for the proposed Covered Program;
  • The designated university administrator or officer supporting the Covered Program;
  • The period of time for which the Covered Program will operate;
  • The expected number of employees and/or volunteers involved and minors served;
  • An acknowledgement of relevant institutional policies, including requirements for background checks, training, insurance, parking access, and facilities use;
  • An acknowledgment of state mandatory reporting requirements related to suspected abuse or neglect of a minor;
  • For third party vendors, a statement acknowledging that the constituent institution may monitor compliance with requirements for operating a Covered Program; and
  • The name or position of the university administrator or officer with responsibility for approving the proposed Covered Program.
  • External Organizations must provide a finalized list of the following data at least ten (10) days prior to the start of the Covered Program to the University unit responsible for contracting for the University Property being utilized:
    • Covered Program times and dates;
    • Locations;
    • Attendance (age range and number of Minors); and
    • A designated Covered Program contact, so that in the event of an emergency, appropriate measures may be taken.

Approval of the Covered Program will be effective after the University unit responsible for contracting for the University Property grants approval and the parties sign Addendum A – Protection of Minors of the Facilities Use Agreement (exhibit A).  All Covered Programs continuously or periodically operating must be re-registered and approved by the University annually.

V. COVERED PROGRAMS INVOLVING MINORS

The following procedures and recommendations apply to all Covered Programs involving Minors:

  1. Program Organizer: A Program Organizer must be appointed for each Covered Program involving Minors, whether the Covered Program is sponsored by the University or by an External Organization.
  2. Training:
    1. The Program Organizer is required to ensure all Covered Individuals working with Minors are trained within twelve months prior to working with Minors as part of the Covered Program.
    2. The Program Organizer is responsible for documenting the training.
    3. For University-sponsored Covered Programs, all Covered Individuals shall complete the training provided by the University. For Covered Programs sponsored by External Organizations, all Covered Individuals shall complete the training provided by the University or comparable training developed by the external organization or a third-party.
    4. Training shall include, at minimum, information about compliance with this policy, mandatory reporting obligations, and appropriate supervision of minors.
  3. Background Checks
    1. Covered Programs must conduct background checks for all Covered Individuals at least every 12-months.
    2. The Program Organizer must certify to WCU that all Covered Individuals affiliated with the Covered Program have been subject to a criminal background check within the applicable timeframe and such check did not reveal any criminal convictions that violate part V(C)(4) below; and
    3. For University-sponsored Covered Programs, the Program Organizer is responsible for ensuring that criminal background checks for Covered Individuals are conducted in accordance with University Policy 98 Employment Background Screening and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
    4. Criminal background checks must be done through a qualified background check vendor, according to reasonable industry standards, and include searches for criminal convictions (federal and in all states and counties in which the individual has lived), searches against the national and state sex offender registries, and, if the individual’s responsibilities include transporting minors, a mandatory driver’s license check. Background and driver’s license checks should look back at least five years, or since the individual reached the age of 18, whichever is shorter.
    5. Covered Individuals whose background check reveals a prior criminal conviction for a sex offense, a crime against children, or a serious violent crime involving assault or injury to others may not participate in a Covered Program. Additionally, Covered Individuals whose background checks reveal other prior criminal convictions may be prohibited from participating in a Covered Program after consideration by the Program Organizer and responsible University administrator, in consultation with WCU legal counsel, of the nature of the conviction and its relevance to the position. Covered Individuals whose background check reveals serious driving-related convictions should not be permitted to transport minors as part of their duties.
      1. The following types of convictions will normally render an individual ineligible to participate in a Covered Program:
        1. Drug distribution activity or felony drug possession
        2. Sexual offenses, including stalking
        3. Crimes of violence involving physical injury to another person
        4. Child abuse, molestation, child pornography or other crimes involving child endangerment, including neglect and abandonment
        5. Murder
        6. Kidnapping
        7. Any other crime involving moral turpitude
    6. All University employees and students who are Covered Individuals must report any criminal conviction(s) occurring between background checks to the Program Organizer, who will evaluate whether the conviction prohibits the Covered Individual from participating in the Covered Program consistent with section (C)(4).
    7. Special Programs: Some programs involving minors on campus, including but not limited to laboratory schools created pursuant to Article 29 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes, cooperative innovative high schools created pursuant to Part 9 of Article 16 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes, and day care centers, may be subject to differing or additional statutory or regulatory requirements regarding background.

  4. Medical /Emergency Care
  1. The Program Organizer will be responsible for:  
    1. Arranging adequate emergency medical services at all locations and access to such services, as appropriate, after considering the nature of the events, expected attendance, and other variables.
    2. Obtaining all necessary forms, including parental or guardian authorizations for participation, medical treatment, and dispensing medication, waivers of liability, and a list of any physical, mental, or medical conditions any Minor might have, including any allergies that could impact his/her participation in the Covered Program. These records should be accessible by responsible parties on a 24-hour basis. 
    3. Establishing a procedure for the notification of the Minor's parent/legal guardian in case of an emergency, including medical or behavioral problems, natural disasters, or other significant disruptions.
    4. Maintaining an up-to-date list of Covered Program times and dates, locations, attendance (age range and number of Minors), and a designated Covered Program contact, so that in the event of an emergency, appropriate measures may be taken. External Organizations must provide a copy of this list at least ten (10) days prior to the start of the Covered Program to the University unit responsible for contracting for the University Property being utilized.

    5. Supervision
  1. All Covered Programs involving Minors must be supervised by at least two (2) or more Covered Individuals or by their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) with at least a 1:18 supervision ratio.
  2. Unless expressly authorized by the Program Organizer, or unless interaction involves the provision of health care or counseling services by a licensed provider, Covered Persons will not be alone with a single Minor. Absent one of these circumstances, activities where Minors are present must involve two or more adults. If one‑on‑one interaction is absolutely required, meet in open, well‑illuminated spaces or rooms with windows observable by other adults.
  3. It is recommended the Program Organizer provide more supervision when considering factors such as: the number and age of Minors, whether the Minors have special needs, the activities involved, type of housing (if applicable), and the age and experience of the Covered Individuals.  The standards set forth in subsection V(E) are the minimum requirements.
  4. When Western Carolina University students are hosting high school students (including prospective athletes) participating in pre-enrollment visitation, the requirement for two (2) Covered Individuals shall be waived. This waiver does not apply to high school students that are hosted by External Organizations.
  5. Overnight Covered Programs:
    1. For overnight Covered Programs housed on University Property, Covered Individuals must reside in the same housing building, and preferably the same floor. Additionally, a Covered Individual should be “on duty” during overnight hours to respond to any circumstances where a Minor requires assistance. For purposes of this policy “on duty” means actively monitoring the location where Minors are housed including overnight hours.
    2. Separate sleeping accommodations are required for Covered Individuals and Minors, unless the Covered Individual is a parent, guardian, or sibling of the Minor.
    3. All guests and visitors of Minors staying in University housing are restricted to building lobby and lounge areas and only during the hours specified by the Program Organizer, which in no case shall be later than 12:00am.
    4. Program Organizers must certify to the University that they have obtained signed written permission from a parent or guardian for a Minor to stay overnight on University Property.

VI. MINORS ON CAMPUS COMMITTEE

  1. The Minors on Campus Committee shall consist, at minimum, of the following positions or position designee:
    1. Executive Director of Educational Outreach
    2. Executive Director of Residential Living
    3. General Counsel
    4. Police Chief
    5. Director of Safety and Risk Management
  2. The Committee will develop and make available to the Program Organizer required training, a list of qualified background check vendors, and specific rules or procedures applicable to the Covered Program involving Minors.
  3. The Committee, with the input of stakeholders, will provide consultation to Program Organizers, as needed, to determine whether a program is a Covered Program and/or whether a minor is a student minor.

VII.   DUTY TO REPORT INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT OR SUSPECTED INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT

  1. In addition to Covered Individuals, every member of the University community has an obligation to immediately report suspected abuse or neglect of a Minor or Student Minor pursuant to North Carolina state law (G.S. 7B-301).
    1. WCU employees shall be trained annually on the mandatory reporting requirements of this policy and N.C.G.S. § 7B-301.
    2. External Organizations shall be responsible for training Covered Individuals on mandatory reporting requirements of this policy and N.C.G.S. § 7B-301 and providing certification that such training was conducted within the last twelve months.
  2. Individuals reporting inappropriate conduct or suspected inappropriate conduct in good faith are protected under North Carolina law from criminal and civil liability for making the report. Furthermore, it is the policy of the University that a good-faith report of suspected abuse or neglect must not be retaliated against in the terms and conditions of employment or educational program.
  3. In the event an individual suspects inappropriate conduct or receives an allegation of inappropriate conduct, the individual must immediately:
    1. Ensure the safety of any minors, irrespective of any other limitation or requirement, including removal of minors from dangerous or potentially dangerous situations.
    2. Notify WCU Police immediately at 828-227-8911.
    3. Report the incident to the local Department of Social Services:
      1. Jackson County Department of Social Services, Child Protection section (828.586.5546), http://www.jcdss.org/
      2. Macon County Department of Social Services, Child Protection Services (828.349.2124), http://maconnc.org/dss-child-abuse.html
      3. Buncombe County Department of Social Services, Child Protective Services (828.250.5900), https://www.buncombecounty.org/Governing/Depts/Dss/Children/Cps.aspx
    4. If the suspected or alleged inappropriate conduct involves a Covered Individual participating in a Covered Program, the Program Organizer must discontinue any further participation by that Covered Individual in any activities covered by this Policy until the situation has been satisfactorily resolved.

VIII. COMPLIANCE

Failure to abide with this Policy shall be considered a violation of University Policy.

IX. POLICY REVIEW

This policy shall be reviewed and revised as necessary every 2 years.

X. RELATED POLICIES AND RESOURCES

Addendum A - Covered Programs for Minors
WCU Standard Facilities Use Agreement
University Policies
UNC Policy Manual

Office of Web Services