Protection of Minors

Effective July 14, 2015

I. Purpose of This Policy

Boston University is committed to maintaining a safe environment for all members of the University community. Minor children visiting University facilities or participating in University-sponsored programs and activities require particular vigilance in order to protect their safety and well-being. This policy and accompanying procedures will guide the conduct of University students, faculty, staff, and volunteers, as well as external individuals and organizations, who operate programs using University facilities that involve interaction with minors.

II. Who This Policy Applies To

Any member of the Boston University community who sponsors, operates, or participates in a program either on or off campus that includes direct contact with minors (either monitored or unmonitored) is responsible for acting in accordance with the provisions of this policy and the accompanying procedures. This policy and accompanying procedures also govern the owners, operators, employees, and agents of Third-Party Programs.

III. Terms Used in This Policy1

Abuse means the non-accidental commission of any act by a caretaker upon a Minor which causes or creates a substantial risk of physical or emotional injury; or any act by a caretaker involving a Minor that constitutes a sexual offense under the laws of the Commonwealth; or any sexual contact between a caretaker and a Minor under the care of that individual.

Campus means all buildings, facilities, and properties that are owned, operated, managed, or controlled by the University.

Direct and Unmonitored Contact with Minors means contact with a Minor when no other criminal background check-cleared employee or volunteer is present. A person having only the potential for incidental unsupervised contact with a Minor in commonly used areas, such as hallways, shall not be considered to have the potential for Direct and Unmonitored Contact with Minors. These excluded areas do not include bathrooms and other isolated areas (not commonly utilized and separated by sight or sound from other employees) that are accessible to Minors.

Direct and Monitored Contact with Minors means contact with a Minor when there is a criminal background check-cleared employee or volunteer present.

Emotional Injury means an impairment to or disorder of the intellectual or psychological capacity of a Minor as evidenced by observable and substantial reduction in the Minor’s ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior.

Matriculated Student: A student is considered matriculated upon the first day of classes or if he or she participates in any University-operated and University-supervised activity occurring prior to the first official day of class. Boston University Academy (BUA) students will be treated as Matriculated Students under this policy.

Minor means any person under the age of 18 who is not a matriculated Boston University or Boston University Academy student and who is unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. A person under the age of 18 who is participating in any Boston University Institutional Review Board–approved research activity is not a Minor under this policy.

Minors Program Coordinator means the individual within each Boston University school, college, unit, or department sponsoring, operating, or participating in an on- or off-campus program involving Minors who is primarily responsible for coordinating that department’s obligations under this policy.

Neglect means failure by a caretaker, either deliberately or through negligence or inability, to take those actions necessary to provide a child with minimally adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, supervision, emotional stability and growth, or other essential care.

Physical Injury means death, fracture of bone, a subdural hematoma, burns, impairment of any organ, any other nontrivial injury, soft tissue swelling or skin bruising, addiction to a drug, or failure to thrive.

Procedures means the procedures promulgated pursuant to this policy and reviewed and updated as necessary, that set forth the specific responsibilities of members of the BU community and Third Parties operating programs or activities involving Minors.

Third-Party Program(s) means non-University organizations and entities that lease, license, or otherwise use any BU property in order to operate programs or activities involving Minors.

University Activities means services, programs, or activities that Boston University operates or sponsors, or in which University students, faculty, or staff engage in through their University roles and through which they will have Direct and Unmonitored or Monitored Contact with Minors. Examples of University Activities include:

  • residential and non-residential programs operated by the University on campus;
  • off-campus programs operated or formally facilitated by the University; and
  • programs which the University does not operate, sponsor, or formally facilitate but in which University students, faculty, or staff participate in their capacity as students, faculty, or staff.

University Activities do not include programs or activities that University students, faculty, or staff engage in on their own time and that are not related to their University role or status.

1Several of the defined terms are derived from materials published by the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families and the Massachusetts Department of Education.

IV. Policy and Procedures

A. Overview

The following outlines the expectations of members of the BU community who work with Minors.

Responsibilities of Operators of University Activities

Each school, college, or administrative unit of the University is responsible for ensuring that University faculty, staff, students, and volunteers who participate in programs that include Minors comply with all applicable aspects of this policy and accompanying procedures.

Reporting
  • Immediately reporting instances of known or suspected abuse or neglect of a Minor to appropriate University and Massachusetts officials in accordance with this policy and accompanying procedures
Criminal Background Checks
  • Ensuring that a cleared criminal background check status has been received prior to permitting any member of the BU community to participate in University Activities that include Minors
Training
  • Ensuring that members of the BU community who participate in programs or activities that include Minors receive training (either online or policy/document review)
Waivers
  • Obtaining waivers of liability from parents/guardians of all Minor participants that specifically release Boston University, unless exemption obtained from Risk Management
Minors Program Coordinator
  • Appoint the Minors Program Coordinator primarily responsible for coordinating the school, college, or administrative unit’s obligations under this policy (Minors Program Coordinator)
  • Provide the name and contact information for the Minors Program Coordinator to Human Resources prior to commencing any University Activity
Information/Documentation
  • Submitting information as requested by the University on programs that include Minors
  • Maintaining documentation of compliance with the requirements of this policy and procedures and any applicable federal or state laws
Compliance with Federal and State Laws
  • Complying with any federal or state requirements applicable to services, programs, and activities involving Minors, including, but not limited to, the Massachusetts Minimum Standards for Recreational Camps for Children, 105 CMR 430.00, the Massachusetts Mandated Reporter law, M.G.L. c. 119, § 51A, and the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care regulations
Responsibilities of Third-Party Program Operators

Owners/operators of Third-Party Programs are responsible for ensuring that their employees, agents, and volunteers comply with all applicable aspects of this policy and accompanying procedures.

Reporting
  • Immediately reporting instances of known or suspected abuse or neglect of a Minor to appropriate University and Massachusetts officials in accordance with this policy and accompanying procedures
Criminal Background Checks
  • Ensuring cleared criminal background check status has been received prior to permitting any employee, agent, or volunteer to participate in a program that includes Minors
Training
  • Ensuring that any employee, agent, or volunteer who participates in programs involving Minors receives training (either online or policy/document review)
Contract with University/Required Elements
  • Entering into a contract with the University prior to operating a Third-Party Program
  • Obtaining waivers of liability from parents/guardians of all Minor participants that specifically release Boston University, unless exemption obtained from Risk Management
  • Carrying appropriate insurance that meets requirements designated by the University’s Risk Management office
  • Maintaining documentation of compliance with requirements of this policy and accompanying procedures and applicable federal and state laws
Compliance with Federal and State Laws
  • Complying with any federal or state requirements applicable to services, programs, and activities involving Minors, including, but not limited to, the Massachusetts Minimum Standards for Recreational Camps for Children, 105 CMR 430.00, the Massachusetts Mandated Reporter law, M.G.L. c. 119, § 51A
Other Interactions with Minors

University faculty, staff, students, and volunteers on campus are exempt from training and background check requirements only in circumstances described below.

University Classes & Typical Academic Settings (University and Boston University Academy Students Under Age of 18)
  • No training or background checks required by University
  • Required to immediately report instances of known or suspected abuse or neglect of a Minor to appropriate University official or the Department of Children and Families in accordance with this policy and accompanying procedures
Programs or Activities Sponsored by Non-University Organizations or Off-Campus Entities
  • No training or background checks required by University
  • Familiarize and follow policies and legal obligations concerning Minors of non-University organizations and off-campus entities

B. Specific Policy Requirements

1. Training

The University’s general training requirements are outlined below. Specific University requirements and procedures for conducting training are set forth in the accompanying procedures.

University Activities

All University students, faculty, staff, and volunteers who participate in University Activities must complete a training program prior to being permitted to participate. The elements of such training must include:

  • University-recommended guidelines for interacting with minors;
  • Warning signs for child abuse or neglect; and
  • A review of the process for reporting potential harm to Minors, including obligations of mandated reporters.

Third-Party Programs

Owners/operators of Third-Party Program(s) involving Minors are required to provide training covering, at a minimum, the above-listed elements to all their owners/operators, employees, volunteers, and agents.

2. Background Checks

The University’s general requirements for conducting background checks are described below. Specific University requirements and procedures for conducting background checks are set forth in the accompanying procedures.

University Activities

Each school, college, or administrative unit operating a University Activity is responsible for ensuring compliance with the University’s requirements concerning criminal and sexual offender background checks, as set forth in the procedures. No University faculty, staff, student, or volunteer who is required to undergo a background check should participate in a program/activity until a cleared status has been received by the operator of the program.

Third-Party Programs

Owners/operators of Third-Party Programs involving Minors must conduct criminal and sexual offender background checks of their owners/operators, employees, volunteers, and agents in compliance with University standards, as set forth in this policy and the procedures.

No owner/operator, employee, volunteer, or agent of a Third-Party Program who is required by this policy or the procedures, or applicable law, to undergo a background check should participate in a program/activity until a cleared status has been received by the owner/operator of the Third-Party Program.

3. Reporting and Addressing Potential Harm to Minors

Any University faculty, staff, student, or volunteer participating in a University Activity and any owner/operator, employee, agent, or volunteer of a Third-Party Program who knows, suspects, or receives information indicating that a Minor participating in such program or activity has been abused or neglected, or who has other concerns about the safety of Minors must report such suspected abuse or neglect in accordance with accompanying procedures. See www.bu.edu/safety/protecting-minors/reporting.

Boston University’s Confidential Reporting Policy protects individuals from retaliation for reports made in good faith. See https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/8779/index.html for more information.

4. Appointing Minors Program Coordinator

Any Boston University school, college, unit, or department that sponsors, operates, or participates in a University Activity will identify a Minors Program Coordinator who will be responsible for coordinating that department’s obligations under this policy. The name and contact information for the Minors Program Coordinator must be provided to Human Resources before that school, college, unit, or department can sponsor, operate, or participate in such a program.

5. Violations of the Policy

Violations of this policy and the accompanying procedures may result in suspension, termination, other corrective action, 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 with Third-Party Program operators or take other appropriate actions, including contract termination or non-renewal, based on violations of the policy or procedures.

V. Responsible Parties

1. Human Resources is responsible for the following aspects of this policy and the procedures:

  • Answering questions about the interpretation or application of the policy and the procedures;
  • Maintaining list of Minors Program Coordinators;
  • Conducting criminal background checks (or authorizing school/college/department administrators to do so); and
  • Developing and updating online training that is available to all members of the BU community who participate in programs or activities that include Minors.

2. Risk Management is responsible for the following aspects of this policy and the procedures:

  • Reviewing requests for exemptions from liability waiver and background check requirements; and
  • Answering questions regarding Third-Party Program Operators.

3. Each school, college, or unit that operates, sponsors, or formally facilitates University Activities is responsible for the following aspects of this policy and the procedures:

  • Identifying an individual (Minors Program Coordinator) to HR who will be primarily responsible for meeting that school, college, or unit’s obligations;
  • Ensuring that a cleared criminal background check status has been received prior to permitting any member of the BU community to participate in University Activities that include Minors;
  • Ensuring that every member of the BU community who participate in programs or activities that include Minors certifies that he or she has completed training (either policy/document review or online training) and will immediately report instances of known or suspected abuse or neglect of a Minor;
  • Obtaining waivers of liability from parents/guardians of all Minor participants unless exempted by Risk Management; and
  • Ensuring that appropriate contracts are in place with any Third-Party Program operators.

 

Questions about the interpretation or application of this policy or the procedures should be raised with Boston University Human Resources, which shall update or modify the procedures as necessary. See www.bu.edu/hr.

Questions about Third-Party requirements should be raised with the Boston University Risk Management office. See www.bu.edu/cfo/risk-management.

The policy may be modified by Human Resources when necessary to reflect changes in the law or external regulations relating to the protection of Minors. With the concurrence of the Vice President for Administrative Services, the implementing procedures may be changed as best practices develop for policy implementation.