Illinois Wesleyan Univerity is committed to promoting and providing a safe and secure environment for minors who participate in programs within our University. This policy establishes our commitment by necessitating screening, training and conduct requirements for faculty, academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, staff, student employees, volunteers and others who staff University programs that serve minors. This policy is in place to inform all members of the University community of their obligation to report any instances of known or suspected child abuse or neglect.
- Minor: an individual under the age of 18
- Program: any event, meeting, or program. This includes camps, visits, tours, concerts, sporting activities, practices, lessons, special events, and socials that are either commuter or residential, and includes off-campus events sponsored by IWU.
- Internal Program: any IWU-sponsored event, including sponsored activities that occur off-campus. The term “Internal Program” applies to commuter or residential programs designed to serve minors such as camps, lessons, recruiting activities, practices, and tours. IWU-sponsorship is defined as a program operated by University employees as part of their employment or using University funds to cover all or part of the program expenses. Programs conducted by registered student organizations are included in this category. Programs conducted by University employees in their personal capacity are considered external or affiliate programs depending on the nature of the program.
- External Program: any event on University premises conducted by an outside entity that includes participants that are minors. This includes University employees holding personal events on University property. External Program reservations are arranged through the Conference Services Office and include execution an Agreement prior to using any University property. Inclusive of this Agreement is acceptance of the Protection of Minors Policy and the performance of background checks and appropriate training for any Program Staff. The External Program is required to certify in writing that they understand and have met all requirements detailed in the Policy and Agreement.
- Affiliate Program: any event, including those that occur off-campus, conducted by a university employee that benefits the employee’s recruitment efforts for the university but is not considered directly part of their employment and is not paid for by University funds; however it may use the University name and its website for promotion. This includes camps run by coaches, and designation as an affiliate is determined by the Conference Services Office.
- IWU Program Staff: any volunteer or employee, paid or unpaid, engaged in the oversight, supervision or operation of an Internal or Affiliate Program. All IWU Program Staff are mandatory reporters.
- Director: the person identified as in charge of the Program, able to make decisions regarding the Program and authorized to sign legal documents on behalf of the Program.
The following exceptions apply to the Protection of Minors Policy:
- When direct supervision of the minor for the entirety of the Program is provided by the parent or legal guardians of the minor;
- When an individual is providing emergency assistance (medical or other) to a minor
- When the minor is a currently enrolled Illinois Wesleyan student (enrollment begins at the fall or spring orientation of their first semester)
- When the minor is an employee of the university
- Programs such as performances, concerts, fairs, convocations and other activities open to the public where the parents or legal guardians are expected to accompany minors, excluding overnight stays.
- One-time visits by minors to meet with faculty or staff to discuss enrollment or academic interests (but fac/staff should still utilize best practices model)
Instances where a Program brings in unexpected or spontaneous attendance by minors will not be considered in violation of the Protection of Minors Policy, provided Program Staff reasonably and in good faith did not anticipate such attendance. In these occurrences, it is expected Program Staff will conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the University’s commitment to providing a safe environment for minors.
Background Checks and Screening
All Program Staff who have direct contact with, oversight of, or control over minors engaged in a Program must meet the screening requirements. The screening requirements are:
- A comprehensive background check, including criminal history and registered sex offender check
- If a student or recent alumnus/alumnae of the University, a review of student discipline records
Written records of the performance and result of these screening steps must be maintained indefinitely. The background check must be passed prior to any contact with minors in the Program (does this include emailing in advance??).
For IWU Program Staff, records will be kept by Human Resources. All IWU Program Staff background checks will be conducted by Human Resources and must remain current. A current background check is a check performed by Human Resources and successfully passed by the IWU Program Staff within the past year. Background checks revealing convictions will be reviewed by Human Resources in consultation with the Program Director to determine eligibility. Student discipline reviews will be performed by the Director of the Internal/Affiliate Program in consultation with the Dean of Students Office.
Directors of External Programs hiring current IWU students may request, through the Conference Services Office, a review of student discipline records and any information provided will be at the consent and discretion of the Dean of Students Office.
Exceptions to the screening requirement may be made for guest speakers or others who make a brief or one-time appearance or contribution to a Program. Requests for exceptions shall be made to Human Resources and should include the rationale and safeguards/actions being put in place to ensure safety.
In rare circumstances, an alternative to background checks may be permitted by Human Resources/Compliance Officer, in consultation with the Program’s division head. Such instances may include the need for numerous volunteers with little or no notice, but lack of proper planning does not constitute a reasonable circumstance for this exception.
All Program Staff must undergo comprehensive training prior to contact with the Program’s minors. This training must be repeated yearly. At a minimum, training must cover topics concerning:
- Abuse of minors, including grooming
- Mandatory Reporting requirements
- Guidelines for appropriate behavior while working with minors
- For IWU Program Staff, completion of the University’s approved Prevention of Abuse of Minors online training module
- A test or other appropriate evaluation testing staff knowledge on the above topics
Online training modules may be offered to Program Staff through electronic communication in advance of the Program, but an additional in-person training session must be conducted prior to contact with minors.
The following guidelines apply for any Program occurring on University property or sponsored by the University:
- If the Program includes housing:
- adults will not be housed in the same room as a minor, unless they are the parents/legal guardians of the minor
- adult supervisor rooms will be spread evenly throughout the Program housing, with a minimum of one supervisor room per floor
- individual bedrooms will not be used to conduct meetings
- Program Staff will conduct any meetings or conversations with participants in a public space, visible to and in the presence of other Program Staff. The need for privacy or confidentiality may be achieved by using an area of a larger room but away from other activities, or using a room with a clear wall so as to be fully visible at all times by the Program Staff in the next room.
- Program Staff will not transport participants alone in a personal or University vehicle. A minimum of three participants or one other Program staff member must be in the vehicle and the Program Director must approve any trips in advance.
- Program Staff will not share their cell phone number with minors, nor partake in texting, calling, or other forms of telecommunication with minors
- Program Staff will not connect with minors through any social media platform??