|Responsible University Administrator:||President|
|Responsible Officer:||General Counsel|
|Current Revision Date:||1/20/2019|
|Next Review Date:||1/20/2022|
|End of Policy Date:||NA|
This policy provides the minimum standard for appropriate supervision of minors who are involved in University-sponsored programs, programs held at the University and/or programs housed in University facilities at all geographic locations. In order to promote the safety and general welfare of all Minors participating in Programs at the University, it is the policy of the University that all Minors participating in Programs must be reasonably and appropriately supervised by an Authorized Adult who complies with the standards of conduct provided in this Policy.
The University of Southern Mississippi hosts a wide variety of university-sponsored or sanctioned activities for non-enrolled minors such as camps, clinics, workshops, conferences, and other educational activities. The aforementioned activities take place both on campus and off campus and include those activities that are not necessarily associated with the University, but merely use the University facilities. This policy provides guidance for appropriate supervision of minors who are involved in University-sponsored programs, programs held at the University and/or programs housed in University facilities at all geographic locations.
The entire University community.
|Adult||Any person 18 years of age or older.|
|Authorized Adult and/or Program Staff||Individuals, paid or unpaid, 18 years or older, who interact with, supervise, chaperone, or otherwise oversee minors in program activities, or recreational, and/or residential facilities. This includes but is not limited to faculty, staff, volunteers, graduate and undergraduate students, interns, employees of temporary employment agencies, and independent contractors/consultants. The Authorized Adults’ roles may include positions as counselors, chaperones, coaches, instructors, etc. For the purposes of this policy, the term “Program Staff” is also assigned this definition. This definition does not include temporary guest speakers, presenters and other individuals who have no direct contact with program participants other than short term activities supervised by Program Staff.|
|Direct Contact||Providing care, supervision, guidance or control of minors and/or having routine interaction with minors.|
|Minor||A person under age of eighteen (18) who is not enrolled or accepted for enrollment in credit-granting courses at the University. Students who are considered to be “dually enrolled” in University credit-granting courses while also enrolled in elementary, middle and/or high school are not included in this policy unless such enrollment includes overnight housing in University facilities. Minor is also referred to as a “participant” in this policy.|
|Non-Public Area||Places that are not common areas, cannot be observed from common areas, and which are not monitored by video surveillance equipment approved by the University Police Department. For purposes of this definition, a “common area” is an area where one would normally anticipate others are present but only during business hours or such other times one would reasonably anticipate others would be present.|
|One-On-One Contact||Personal, unsupervised interaction in a non-public area between any Authorized Adult and a Minor without at least one other Authorized Adult, parent or legal guardian being present. One-on-one contact includes electronic communication, such as social media, email, and texting.|
|Program||Programs and/or activities offered or sponsored by various academic or administrative units of the University, or by non-University groups using University facilities. This includes but is not limited to workshops, sports camps, academic camps, conferences, private music lessons, and similar activities.|
|Sponsoring Unit||The academic or administrative unit of the University which offers or approves a program which includes minors, partners with a non-University group to offer a program, or gives approval for use of University facilities. Conference Housing is not considered to be a Sponsoring Unit.|
|University Housing||Facilities owned by, or under the control of, the University intended for use as housing.|
1.0 One-on-One Contact Prohibited
1.1 No Authorized Adult or Program Staff shall have one-on-one contact with minors. Therefore, other than in cases outlined as follows, all activities involving minors must be supervised by at least two Authorized Adults or by the parent or legal guardian of the participants. In the case of electronic communications, Authorized Adults/Program Staff must not have any direct electronic communications with minors without another Authorized Adult, parent, or legal guardian being included in the communication.
1.2 Factors to be considered in determining requirements for supervision are 1) the number, age, and gender of participants; 2) the activities involved; 3) type of housing, if applicable; and 4) age, gender, and experience of the Authorized Adults.
1.3 It is acceptable for an individual Program Staff member to provide program services to a group of participants (e.g., classroom instruction or outdoor activities) if the activity is conducted in an open or public area where the group is visible to others outside the group at all times. This includes classroom or meeting activities where open doors or windows allow for a clear line of sight.
1.4 Likewise, it is acceptable for an individual Program Staff member to interact with an individual minor as long as the interaction occurs in an open or public area (common area), or in non-public settings that are visible from common areas during normal business hours or such other times one would reasonably anticipate others would be present. This includes meetings in private offices during normal business hours where open doors or windows allow for a clear line of sight from the common area.
1.5 In addition to the requirement that two Authorized Adults be present at all times when minors are being supervised, an additional Authorized Adult should be available as a "floater" to stand in if one of the two must leave the area. The two Authorized Adults should not be family members.
1.6 All supervised participants in a university program or a program taking place on university property are permitted in the general use facilities [e.g. athletic fields, public spaces, academic buildings] but may, as needed, be restricted from certain areas of the facilities [e.g. storage rooms, equipment rooms, athletic training rooms, staff/ faculty offices] or from utilizing certain equipment.
2.0 Duty to Report
2.1 If any person has reason to suspect that a Minor has been subject to neglect or abuse, he or she must immediately do the following:
a. Inform the University Police Department (Hattiesburg: 601-266-4986; Gulf Coast: 228-234-2068) or other appropriate law enforcement agency, and if the suspected assault or abuse presents an imminent danger to a Minor, contact should occur immediately;
b. Report the activity to the Mississippi Department of Human Services by calling the Abuse hotline (800-222-8000) and provide a written report to the Department of Human Services as soon thereafter as possible. See Miss. Code Ann. § 43-21-353; and
c. If the Minor is a participant in a Program, notify the Title IX Coordinator (601-266-6618) or designee as well as the Program Director. If, however, the Program Director may be involved in the suspected assault or abuse, only report the suspected assault or abuse directly to the University’s Title IX Coordinator or designee.
2.2. Authorized Adults must make all reasonable efforts to ensure the safety of minors participating in programs and activities covered by this policy, including removal of minors from dangerous or potentially dangerous situations, irrespective of any other limitation or requirement.
2.3 If an allegation of inappropriate conduct has been made against an Authorized Adult participating in a program, s/he shall discontinue any further participation in programs and activities covered by this policy until such allegation has been satisfactorily resolved.
2.4 If any person witnesses a violation of this policy, such as one-on-one contact, or anything that gives rise to concern for the health or safety of a Minor, that person shall immediately notify the University’s Title IX Coordinator or designee (601-266- 6618).
3.0 Code of Conduct for Authorized Adults
3.1 Authorized Adults should behave professionally and maintain the highest standards of personal behavior at all times. Authorized Adults participating in programs and activities covered by this Policy shall NOT:
a. Have one-on-one contact with minors: there must be two or more Authorized Adults present during activities where minors are present. One-on-one contact includes electronic communication. Therefore, Authorized Adults/Program Staff shall not have any direct electronic communications with minors without another Authorized Adult, parent, or legal guardian being included in the communication.
b. Enter a minor’s room, sleeping quarters, bathroom facility, changing area, shower area or similar area without another Authorized Adult in attendance, except under emergency circumstances.
c. Share sleeping quarters with minors. Separate accommodations for adults and minors are required other than the minors’ parents or guardians. Minors should be placed in accommodations that allow for a locked door between themselves and Program Staff.
d. Engage in abusive conduct of any kind toward, or in the presence of, a minor.
e. Strike, hit, administer corporal punishment to, or touch in an inappropriate or illegal manner any Minor.
f. Engage in rough or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
g. Allow any inappropriate touching, including between minors.
h. Swear, use or respond to sexual innuendo or make sexually suggestive comments.
i. Pick up minors from or drop off minors at any location except as specifically authorized in writing by the minor’s parent or legal guardian. Two Authorized Adults should be in a vehicle with a minor if transportation is needed.
j. Provide alcohol or illegal drugs to any minor. Authorized Adults also must not provide prescription drugs or any medication to any minor unless specifically authorized in writing by the parent or legal guardian as being required for the minor’s care or the minor’s emergency treatment. Participants’ medicines may be distributed by Program Staff, following the conditions outlined in this policy.
k. Make sexual material in any form, including printed and electronic, available to minors participating in programs or activities covered by this Policy or assist them in any way in gaining access to such materials.
l. Give personal gifts to, or do special favors for, a minor or do things that may be seen as favoring one minor over others. Likewise, expensive gifts should not be accepted from any minor in the program.
m. Tell a minor “this is just between the two of us” or use similar language that encourages minors to keep secrets from their parent/guardians.
4.0 Duties of Sponsoring Units
4.1 Each Sponsoring Unit shall:
a. Designate a director for each program or activity who shall be responsible for implementation and oversight of the program activities and compliance with university policies, procedures, and guidelines. The program director should have a level of authority to ensure compliance with the necessary requirements outlined within this policy.
b. Develop and implement a clear set of rules for each program which shall address safety and security procedures, procedures for emergency notification and communication, disciplinary measures, behavioral expectations, and rules of conduct. These rules must be made available to program participants and their parents/legal guardians. See 6.0 Program Rules of Conduct.
c. Follow all University policies and other laws or regulations applicable to Program activities.
d. Ensure that no Minor under age eight (8) participates in a Residential Program.
e. Require the program to provide trained counselors (also considered to be Authorized Adults) in accordance with the following staff-to-participant ratios recommended by the American Camp Association which must reflect the gender distribution of the participants:
Overnight Camps (Residential)
6 - 8
1:6 (age 8 only)
9 - 14
15 - 17
f. Assign a staff member who is at least 21 years of age to be on-call and accessible to participants at all times. The staff member must reside in the housing unit, if applicable. Additional Authorized Adults should be assigned to ensure one-on-one contact with minors does not occur and that appropriate levels of supervision are implemented.
5.1 All Authorized Adults/Program Staff participating in a program covered by this policy are required to attend annual mandatory training provided by the Sponsoring Unit and/or program which must include, at a minimum, the following:
a. information about responsibilities and expectations required under this policy;
b. procedures under this policy;
c. appropriate crisis/emergency responses;
d. safety and security precautions;
e. addressing medical emergencies;
f. university responsibility/liability.
g. how to report suspected child abuse in accordance with this policy; and
h. protecting participants from abusive emotional and physical treatment.
5.2 A copy of the Minors on Campus policy should be given to all Authorized Adults/Program Staff for review and each should sign an acknowledgment that they have read and understood the policy.
5.3 The Sponsoring Unit and/or Program Director may enhance or modify the required training program to meet specific needs of the particular program or activity involved, in consultation with the Director of Compliance and Ethics, but any such enhanced or modified program must include all the elements described in this section. In addition, the Sponsoring Unit and/or program director shall arrange for sufficiently frequent training sessions to permit covered programs and activities to continue to function on a regularly scheduled basis.
5.4 All Authorized Adults/Program Staff must successfully complete a free online training course annually entitled "Child Abuse Awareness: USM's Minors on Campus Training Module" which may be accessed at the following link: Training Course. To successfully complete the course, the test displayed at the end of the course must be passed with a score of 70 or above. The individual must print out their score and provide a copy to the Program Director who will retain those results illustrating proficiency by achievement of a score of 70 or above. This online training course should be completed at least seven days prior to the start date of the program or activity involving minors.
5.5 The Program Director is responsible for maintaining appropriate documentation that certifies the program’s Authorized Adults/Program Staff have been properly trained each year (e.g., attendance records at program training, signed Acknowledgment of Understanding [See Form A attached], and print out of individual test scores). These records are subject to University audit.
5.6 Non-university entities using University facilities for programs/camps involving minors are required to certify that they have provided training comparable to that required under this policy to their Program Staff.
6.0 Program Rules of Conduct
6.1 Each Program should have a clear set of rules of conduct for participants which should be provided to participants and parents/legal guardians prior to participating in the program. Each set of rules must include the following common elements:
a. Clear statement that participants must abide by all University policies/regulations and a clear explanation of potential discipline in the event of non-compliance (e.g., removal from the program).
b. Clear statement prohibiting the possession or use of alcohol, drugs, fireworks, firearms, guns, knives, and other weapons.
c. Clear statement that the operation of motor vehicles by minors in residential programs is prohibited while attending and participating in the program.
d. Clear statement that no violence of any kind, including sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and other sexually inappropriate conduct, will be tolerated.
e. Clear statement that hazing and bullying (verbal, physical, and cyberbullying) are prohibited.
f. Clear statement that theft is prohibited.
g. Clear statement that the use of tobacco products is prohibited and smoking is prohibited in all University buildings.
h. Clear statement that misuse or damage of University property is prohibited and participants may be financially responsible for damage or misuse of University property.
i. Prohibition against the inappropriate use of cell phones, cameras, imaging, and other digital recording devices, including the use of such devices in showers, restrooms, or other areas where privacy is expected by participants.
j. Rules and procedures governing when and under what circumstances participants may leave the property during the program.
k. Process and procedures to be followed if a participant, group leader, or other individual associated with a program is alleged to have violated University policies or conduct rules of the program, including the process for dismissal and removal from the program.
6.2 Campus units sponsoring a Program are expected to provide orientation to participants that address the following topics:
a. University rules, program rules of conduct, and behavioral expectations;
b. Program safety and security procedures;
c. University reporting protocol for suspected child abuse, sexual assault, or other crimes;
7.0 Communication and Notification
7.1 The Sponsoring Unit shall establish an appropriate procedure for the notification of the minor’s parent/legal guardian in case of an emergency, including medical or behavioral problem, natural disasters, or other significant program disruptions. Authorized Adults with the program, as well as participants and their parents/legal guardians, must be advised of this procedure in writing prior to the participation of the minors in the program.
7.2 The Sponsoring Unit shall maintain a list of all program participants and a directory of Program Staff. This list shall include participant’s name; local room assignment (if applicable); gender, age, address, and phone number(s) of the parent or legal guardian, as well as emergency contact information. For residential programs at University facilities, a copy of this list of program participants and a directory of Program Staff must be made available to the University Police Department upon request.
7.3 The Sponsoring Unit shall provide information to the parents/legal guardians detailing the manner in which the participant can be contacted during the program.
8.0 University Housing
8.1 For residential camps and programs, the Sponsoring Unit or Program Director must develop and implement rules and regulations for proper supervision of minors in University housing which should be provided to participants and parents/legal guardians prior to participating in the program. The following must be included:
a. Written permission signed by the parent/guardian for the minor to reside in University housing.
b. A curfew time which is age-appropriate for the participants, which in no case shall be later than midnight.
c. In-room visitation to be restricted to participants of the same gender.
d. Visitation by non-participant guests (other than a parent/legal guardian in an emergency situation) is forbidden.
e. The program must comply with all security measures and procedures specified by the Department of Residence Life and the University Police Department.
8.2 For residential camps and programs at University facilities, the Sponsoring Unit or program must provide a copy of a list of program participants and a directory of Program Staff to the University Police Department upon request. This list shall include participant’s name; local room assignment; gender, age, address, and phone number(s) of the parent or legal guardian, as well as emergency contact information.
9.0 Background Checks
9.1 All Program Staff/Authorized Adults, whether paid or unpaid or affiliated with the University or not, are required to have a current background check on record with the University before being hired or allowed to engage with minors. However, background checks are not required for temporary guest speakers, presenters and other individuals who have no direct contact with program participants other than short term activities supervised by Program Staff.
9.2 All Program Staff/Authorized Adults are required to have a background check every annually.
9.3 The University will conduct a background check that will include at a minimum a multijurisdictional criminal history check and a national sex offender registry check. The results of the background check must be reviewed and approved by the Department of Human Resources prior to working in the program. All Program Staff members are required to complete The University background check process at the time of, and as a condition of hire.
9.4 It is the responsibility of the Program Director to assure that each Program Staff member has received clearance by the Department of Human Resources prior to working in the program. All Program Staff members are required to complete The University background check process at the time of, and as a condition of hire.
9.5 Non-university entities are required to conduct background checks on their Program Staff and certify that they have done so.
9.6 Payment for the background check is the responsibility of the Authorized Adult/Program Staff member unless specifically authorized for processing and/or payment by the Sponsoring Unit.
9.7 Authorized Adults are under a duty to disclose to the Program Director any arrest that occurs after a background check is performed within 72 hours of its occurrence or immediately if such occurs while working as Program Staff.
9.8 Human Resources will be responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are followed (if applicable) should information of concern be reported. Human Resources will notify the Program Director of the content of the report and inquire as to their level of concern with the issue being reported. Instructions will also be provided should the individual wish to dispute the accuracy of the report information. The final decision regarding any individual’s participation in an activity or program involving minors will lie with Human Resources in consultation with the Office of General Counsel.
9.9 Results of background checks conducted under this Policy will be used only for the purposes of this Policy, except that the University reserves the right to take appropriate action with respect to employees who may have falsified or failed to disclose information material to their employment on employment applications uncovered as a result of the background check, including and up to immediate termination of employment. Copies of all correspondence with Program Staff members regarding background check reports will be retained in Human Resources.
9.10 All contracts for the services of independent contractors that will be working with minors must include a provision assuring that the employees of such independent contractors will be background checked.
10.0 Programs/Camps Directed by Non-University Entities
10.1 From time to time, camps and other educational programs or activities will be held on the University campus by non-University organizations. Any such program involving minors shall be operated consistent with the guidelines of this policy. All contracts for the use of University facilities by non-university organizations for programs involving minors shall reference this requirement and provide a link to this policy.
10.2 Non-university organizations using University facilities for programs/camps involving minors shall be required to deliver the following before authorization of use of University facilities may be given:
a. A signed Facilities Use Agreement setting forth the specific facilities to be used, the dates and hours of permitted access and other terms applicable to such use;
b. A signed Safety of Minors Addendum (See Form B attached) wherein non-university organizations represent and certify that the program meets all the requirements for programs set forth in this policy, including without limitation, all provisions concerning training, staff to participant ratios, and background checks of all authorized adults;
c. A signed Release and Indemnification Agreement in a form acceptable to the Office of General Counsel releasing the University from all liabilities and claims for damages from any cause whatsoever and defending and holding the University harmless against any and all claims arising from the actions of the non-university organization, its employees or volunteers, and from any failure to conform to the requirements of this policy; and
d. An additional insured endorsement and a certificate of insurance written on an occurrence form issued by a carrier with an A.M. Best rating of at least A- (Excellent) Financial Size Category VII or higher which identifies The University of Southern Mississippi, its Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and agents as an “Additional Insured” and provides a minimum of one million dollars in liability coverage. Due to the nature of some events, the University reserves the right to require additional limits of liability coverage.
10.3 Liability for incidents that may occur as a result of the non-university organization’s activities falls on the organization only and does not extend to the University. Liability waiver agreements between the program participant’s parent/guardian and the organization shall plainly state that the participation in the third-party organization’s program or activity is neither endorsed nor sponsored by The University of Southern Mississippi.
11.1 The Program Director/Program Staff shall obtain a Liability Release in a form acceptable to the Office of General Counsel as part of the program registration process. The Liability Release must also contain a media, photo & video release clause within it.
11.2 All data gathered shall be confidential, is subject to records retention guidelines, and shall not be disclosed, except as provided by law.
12.0 Medical Treatment, Administration of Medicines and Emergency Services
12.1 For residential programs and those programs which involve strenuous physical activity, the Sponsoring Unit shall obtain a Waiver and Consent for Medical Treatment, Self-Administration of Prescription Medication, and Over-the-Counter Medication Form (See Form C attached) signed by the participant’s parent/legal guardian.
12.2 For residential programs and those programs which involve strenuous physical activity, the Program Staff may administer medicine to participants under the following conditions:
a. The participant’s parent/legal guardian must provide written authorization for each administration of any medicine, whether prescription or over-the-counter medication.
b. The participant’s parent/legal guardian must provide the medicine in its original pharmacy container labeled with the participant’s name, medicine name, dosage, and timing of consumption. Over-the-counter medications must be provided in their manufacturers’ container.
c. Program Staff shall keep the medicine in a secure location, and at the appropriate time for distribution shall meet with the participant.
d. The Program Staff member shall allow the participant to self-administer the appropriate dose as shown on the container.
e. A record showing the date, time, and signature of the person who administered or supervised each administration of medicine must be retained by the Sponsoring Unit.
f. Any medicine the participant cannot self-administer must be stored and administered by a licensed healthcare professional associated with the campus, or if no one is available, arrangements must be made with another health care professional in advance of the participant’s arrival.
g. Devices for the self-administration of medications which are prescribed by a physician may be carried by the participant during program activities (Examples include personal “epi” pens and asthma inhalers).
h. Program Staff should make reasonable efforts to have basic first-aid kits available if needed.
12.3 The Sponsoring Unit shall arrange for medical care appropriate for the nature of program activities including on-site emergency medical service coverage if needed.
13.1 Sanctions for violations of this policy will depend upon the circumstances and the nature of the violation but may include the full range of available University sanctions applicable to the individual including suspension, dismissal, termination, and where appropriate, exclusion from campus. The University may also take necessary interim actions before determining whether a violation has occurred. The University may terminate relationships or take other appropriate actions against non-University entities that violate this Policy.
14.1 Any requests for clarification as to whether a particular program or activity is subject to this policy should be sent to the Director of Compliance and Ethics.
14.2 Requests for a waiver to all of, or any portion of, this policy should first be approved by the Program Director and his or her chair and dean. The request should then be sent to the Director of Compliance and Ethics for appropriate review using the Minors on Campus Program/Activity Request for Exemption Form. (See Form D attached) The Director of Compliance and Ethics or his/her designated representative will review the request and may request additional information or supporting documentation as needed. The Director of Compliance and Ethics will advise the Program Director in writing as to their decision.
14.3 When seeking clarification or a waiver of a program or activity, the information provided shall include, at a minimum, the person in charge of the program or activity; the dates and locations where minors will be participating; the general nature of the activities and program to be undertaken or offered; the names of all Authorized Adults who will be participating directly with minors in the program or activity; and the administrative requirements associated with the program or activity, including but not limited to waivers and permission slips to be obtained from the parents/guardians of participating minors and medical emergency forms.
This policy will be reviewed by the Office of General Counsel and the Director of Compliance and Ethics every four years and as necessitated by a change in the law.
Form A: Acknowledgement of Understanding: University Minors on Campus Policy;
Form B: Safety of Minors Addendum to Facility Use Agreement;
Form C: Waiver and Consent for Medical Treatment, Self-Administration of Prescription Medication, and Over-the-Counter Medication (for residential programs and those involving strenuous physical activity);
Please email complianceFREEMississippi to obtain access to the forms or call 601-266-4466
Form D: Minors on Campus Program/Activity Request for Exemption Form
Miss. Code Ann. § 43-21-353
Amendments: Month, Day, Year – summary of changes
01/31/09- Changes were made to the following sections:
Section 5.3, 5.5, 5.6, 9.1, 9.2, 9.4.4., 9.7, and 9.9. Previous section 5.3 was deleted and all subsequent sections moved up accordingly.