Purpose and Scope
Catawba College values the health, safety, and well-being of minors and is committed to providing a safe environment for minors on campus and who participate in College programs. In keeping with this value and to fulfill this commitment, the College has adopted this Protection of Minors Policy ("Policy"). This Policy applies to all members of the College community and all offices, departments, and units of the College. Failure to comply may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, and revocation of the opportunity to use College property or facilities. All camps, events, programs, and activities that are intended for minors and that take place on campus, in College facilities, or under the supervision of the College, whether operated by the College or third parties ("Programs"), are subject to this Policy. For purposes of this Policy, a minor is a person, other than an enrolled College student, who is less than 18 years of age.
The following requirements govern all Programs:
Register the Program
The individual that is responsible for a Program ("Program Director"), or his or her designee, shall register the Program with Catawba Conferences at least 30 days before the start of the Program. This registration shall be in writing and provide, at a minimum, the following information:
- the name and purpose of the Program,
- the date and time of the Program,
- the number and ages of expected Program participants,
- the names of Program staff,
- the location of the Program, and
- an indication of whether the Program will involve overnight activities.
If this information changes before or during the Program, the Program Director, or his or her designee, shall promptly notify Catawba Conferences of any such changes in writing. Based on the registration and other relevant information, the College may refuse to participate in or make College property or facilities available for the Program.
Obtain and Submit Appropriate Documents
The Program Director, or his or her designee, shall obtain and submit the following documents, as applicable, in connection with each Program:
- Participation Agreement.
Before a minor may participate in a Program, the minor and his or her parent or legal guardian must sign a written agreement and provide it to the Program Director ("Participation Agreement"). Participation Agreements must be in a form acceptable to the College. While they may vary from Program to Program, they must include a general description of the Program, indicate whether the Program is affiliated with the College, and require parental consent for the minor to participate in the Program. A form Participation Agreement must be submitted to Catawba Conferences with the Program registration.
- Facilities Use Agreement.
If a Program is operated by a third party and requires the use of College property or facilities, the Program Director, or his or her designee, must complete and submit an agreement to Catawba Conferences ("Facilities Use Agreement"). The Facilities Use Agreement will identify the required College property or facilities and outline the terms and conditions governing its use.
Conduct Background Checks
All adults who are reasonably expected to directly work with, instruct or otherwise interact with minors during or in connection with a Program must undergo a criminal background check. This requirement applies to all College employees, third-party employees, and Program volunteers. Before an adult may begin with the Program, these checks must be conducted and evaluated by an agency selected and approved by the College’s Human Resources Department. The College reserves the right to prohibit adults from participating in a Program. Criminal background checks must be completed on all adults every year. It is the responsibility of the Program Director, in consultation with the College’s Human Resources Department, to ensure that appropriate criminal background checks are completed. These checks must include the Nationwide Criminal Database Search with Sex Offender Index and North Carolina Statewide Criminal Search. The Program Director is required to share ALL background checks conducted independently with the Catawba College Human Resources Department. Any expenses associated with background checks will be the responsibility of the Program Director.
All College employees and outside parties seeking residence hall/facility use who are reasonably expected to directly interact with minors during or in connection with a Program must participate in online training regarding the protection of minors. Training shall be completed annually before an adult begins working with minors. Participation in training shall be documented, with the adult signing a statement indicating his/her understanding and receipt of the College's policies and procedures.
Training shall address:
- policies regarding interactions with minors,
- responsibility for modeling respectful behaviors,
- consequences of conduct violations involving minors,
- behavioral signs that minor victims may exhibit,
- sexual abuse and sexual harassment,
- inappropriate behavior with children,
- reporting requirements and procedures, and
- other appropriate topics.
Take the online training:
Comply with Behavioral Expectations
Adults should be positive role models for minors and act in a caring, honest, respectful, and responsible manner that is consistent with the mission and guiding principles of the College. Therefore, adults working in Programs must follow the following behavioral expectations:
- Do not engage in any sexual activity, make sexual comments, tell sexual jokes, or share sexually explicit material (or assist in any way to provide access to such material) with minors.
- Do not be alone with a single minor. If one-on-one interaction is required, meet in open, well illuminated spaces or rooms with windows observable by other adults from the Program, unless the one-on-one interaction is expressly authorized by the College.
- Do not meet with minors outside of established Program times. Any exception requires written parental consent and must include more than one adult from the Program.
- Do not invite individual minors to your home. Any exception requires authorization by the Program Director and written parental consent.
- Do not engage in or communicate with minors through e-mail, text messages, social networking websites, internet chat rooms, or other forms of social media at any time, except and unless there is an educational or programmatic purpose and the content of the communication is consistent with the purpose of the Program.
- Do not touch minors in a manner that a reasonable person could interpret as inappropriate. Touching should generally only be in the open and in response to the minor's needs, for a purpose that is consistent with the purpose of the Program, and/or for a clear educational, developmental, or health related (e.g., treatment of an injury) purpose. Any resistance from the minor should be respected.
- Do not engage in any abusive conduct of any kind toward or in the presence of, a minor, including but not limited to, verbal abuse, striking, hitting, punching, poking, spanking, or restraining. If restraint is necessary to protect a minor from harm, all incidents of restraint must be documented and disclosed to the Program Director and the minor's parent or guardian.
- Do not use, possess, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while on duty or when responsible for a minor's welfare.
- When transporting minors in a Program, more than one adult from the Program must be present in the vehicle, except when multiple minors will be in the vehicle at all times through the transportation. Avoid using personal vehicles if possible.
- Possession of or use of any type of weapon or explosive device is prohibited when working in the Program or in the presence of a minor in the Program.
If you see something, say something. Every member of the community must immediately report any abuse or suspected abuse of minors to College Public Safety, Human Resources, and to the Program Director. Abuse includes inappropriate interactions, neglect, or inadequate care provided by a parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker. Every member of the College community has a further obligation under North Carolina law to report such abuse or suspected abuse to the director of the department of social services in the county where the minor resides or is found. College Public Safety can assist in providing contact information for reporting to the appropriate social services department. Individuals making a report in good faith will be protected from criminal and civil liability for making the report. Further, it is the policy of the College that no individual making a good faith report of abuse or suspected abuse will be retaliated against in the terms and conditions of employment or educational program.
Approved by President's Cabinet, January 22, 2013.