Randolph-Macon College (“College”) is committed to promoting the safety and well-being of Minors who participate in Covered Programs designed to include children. This Policy (i) describes the College’s expectations of those who may interact with Minors participating in such Covered Programs, (ii) sets forth criteria for Covered Programs involving Minors to help promote their safety while participating in a Covered Program, and (iii) informs all members of the College community of their obligation to report any instances of known or suspected abuse or neglect.
2.0 – Scope
This Policy applies to all College faculty, staff, students, volunteers and contractors working or interacting with Minors.
3.0 – Definitions
3.1 “Abuse” includes:
Any non-accidental physical or mental injury of or to a Minor that is inflicted, threatened or knowingly allowed to occur;
Any act of sexual exploitation or any sexual act involving a Minor including, but not limited to, incest, rape, fondling, indecent exposure, prostitution, or allowing a child to be trafficked or used in any sexually explicit visual material;
Any neglect or refusal to provide care necessary for a Minor’s health including, but not limited to, adequate food, clothing, shelter, emotional nurturing and health care;
Any abandonment or knowing failure to provide adequate supervision in relation to the Minor’s age and level of development; and
Any knowing entrustment of a Minor’s care to a person who is required to register as a violent sexual offender.
3.2 “Minor” or “Minors” includes anyone who is under the age of 18. However, consistent with other College policies and notwithstanding the foregoing, full-time enrollees of Randolph-Macon College who are under the age of 18 shall be treated as adults and have all of the rights and responsibilities of other Randolph-Macon College students who have reached the age of majority. Thus, for purposes of this Policy, Randolph-Macon College students who are under the age of 18 shall be treated similarly to all other Randolph-Macon College students and are subject to the same requirements that apply to other students with respect to their interactions with Minors in Covered Programs.
3.3 “College Personnel” includes any employee, student, volunteer or contractor of Randolph-Macon College who comes into contact with Minors through involvement in a Covered Program.
3.4 “Covered Program” means programs, events or activities sponsored or operated, in whole or in part, by Randolph-Macon College and designed to include Minors (e.g., camps, lessons, workshops, clubs, teams, events, projects, or practices).
3.5 “Non-College Program” means programs, events or activities taking place on property owned or controlled by Randolph-Macon College but sponsored, hosted, controlled and/or operated by an individual or entity other than the College. This would include, for example, a seminar, camp, tournament or performance operated by a third-party pursuant to a lease of facilities from Randolph-Macon College.
3.6 “Responsible Party” is the Randolph-Macon College employee or independent contractor ultimately responsible for a Covered Program or the oversight of a Non-College Program.
3.7 “Unit” is any individual, office, department, or institute that is a part of the College’s formal structure.
4.0 – Behavioral Expectations
The behavior of College Personnel is expected to align, at all times, with the College’s applicable Codes of Conduct for Students, Faculty and Staff, and with the specific expectations for interacting with Minors found in this Policy, the Faculty Handbook or the Staff Handbook and Appendix A.
5.0 – Duty to Report Suspected Abuse and/or Inappropriate Behavior
5.1 Duty to Report. Any College Personnel who, in the ordinary course of their employment or by virtue of their involvement with a Covered Program, knows, has reason to suspect, or receives information indicating, that a Minor has been or is being subjected to Abuse, is required by law to report the matter immediately, either to (i) the Virginia Department of Social Services (via the Department’s toll-free abuse and neglect hotline (800-552-7096)), or (ii) the local social services department of the county or city where the Minor resides or where the abuse or neglect is believed to have occurred. The Virginia Department of Social Services provides an online list of local social services agencies.
The report must be made as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after having reason to suspect the Abuse. Under Virginia law, any individual who is required to report but fails to do so in a timely manner may be fined up to $500 for the first failure, and not less than $1,000 for any subsequent failure. Anyone who intentionally fails to report rape, sodomy, or object sexual penetration may be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (Section 63.2-1509 of the Code of Virginia)
5.2 Exceptions to Reporting. In the following situations, no reporting is required:
5.2.1 If the person suspecting the Abuse knows (has actual knowledge) that the same matter has already been reported as required by Virginia law and this Policy; or
5.2.2 If the Abuse occurred in the past AND the victim is now age 18 or older, a person may, but is not required to, report the matter to the appropriate law enforcement office. If the Abuse occurred in the past AND the victim is still a Minor, the matter MUST be reported as described above.
5.3 Report to Campus Safety. As soon as practicable after fulfilling the reporting obligation in Section 5.1, the individual making such report shall notify the College’s Office of Campus Safety (804-752-4710). The Office of Campus Safety will immediately notify the Senior Associate Dean of Students and Director of Campus Safety of the report. The Senior Associate Dean of Students or her designee, in consultation with appropriate College officials, will take steps to safeguard and protect the interests of victims and reporters, afford fundamental fairness to the accused, facilitate the College’s cooperation with any investigation conducted by any authorized governmental agency, and meet relevant legal requirements. The Senior Associate Dean of Students or her designee will notify the parents or guardians of the Minor involved if the parents or guardians of the alleged victim have not been notified and are not the alleged abusers.
Anyone who wishes to discuss any suspicious, inappropriate or unusual conduct involving a Minor while the Minor is participating in a Covered Program or a Non-College Covered Program or activity that would lead a reasonable person to have concern for the current or future well-being of that particular Minor or other Minors should immediately contact the Office of Campus Safety (804-752-4710).
5.4 Immunity. Persons reporting Abuse to the Virginia Department of Social Services or a local social services office in good faith are immune from civil and criminal liability pursuant to Virginia Code Section 63.2-1512.
5.5 No Retaliation. The College’s various policies protecting reporters of misconduct from retaliation when they make good faith reports about alleged violations of the College’s applicable Codes of Conduct for students, faculty and staff shall apply under this Policy.
5.6 Additional Information. More information, including guidance on what constitutes and how to identify Abuse, is available in the Guide for Mandated Reporters (PDF) published by the Virginia Department of Social Services.
6.0 – Requirements for Covered Programs Involving Minors
The following requirements apply to all Covered Programs:
6.1 Registration. All Covered Programs must be registered with the College Events Management Office at least thirty (30) days prior to the Covered Program’s commencement. Forms for registering a Covered Program are available from the College Events Management Office.
6.2 Background Checks. The Responsible Party must ensure that a background check, to include a criminal background check and a check of the relevant sex offender registries, has been completed for the following categories of adults, students, volunteers and contractors prior to their participation in Covered Programs involving Minors:
Directors and supervisors of Covered Programs involving Minors, including those who are responsible for supervising those who interact with Minors;
Those who stay overnight with Minors as part of their responsibilities or role in a Covered Program involving Minors; and
Those who regularly spend time alone with Minors as part of their responsibilities or role in a Covered Program involving Minors.
If a background check reveals adverse information or unfavorable results, an individualized assessment will be conducted, taking into account the following:
the nature of the finding;
the job for which the applicant is being considered;
the underlying event(s) that occurred;
the time elapsed since the finding;
the applicant’s employment history and other evidence of his or her activities in the intervening time since the finding; and
·other relevant information.
A prior conviction shall not automatically disqualify an applicant from a Covered Program or activity, but shall be considered using the criteria identified above.
Except where required by law, criminal background checks of College faculty, staff and students obtained pursuant to this Policy will be used only for purposes consistent with this Policy and will otherwise be kept confidential. The record of information returned from the background check obtained pursuant to this Policy will be maintained separately from an individual’s personnel or student file.
6.3 Training. All individuals for whom a background check is required by this Policy are required to receive training provided by the College.
6.4 Liability Waivers. The Responsible Party, or the authorized representative of a Non-College Covered Program or activity, must provide the Events Management Office with participation and liability waivers and consent to medical treatment signed by a parent or guardian for each Minor participating in a Covered Program.
6.5 Exemptions. The Covered Program requirements set forth in this Section 6 do not apply to:
Events open to the general public not specifically targeted to Minors;
Social functions that may be attended by Minors where parents/guardians or adult chaperones are invited/expected to accompany and supervise their Minors;
Organized school field trips or tours where Minors are under the supervision of an authorized adult from the Minors’ school or organization; and
Covered Programs expressly granted an exemption by the Vice President for Student Affairs.
7 – Third Party Use of College Facilities for Non-College Programs Involving Minors
Any Unit overseeing, inviting or involved in the use of College facilities for Non-College Programs involving Minors must appoint a Responsible Party to function as a liaison to the third-party entity. The Responsible Party shall ensure the execution of a facility use contract that has been reviewed and approved by the Vice President of Administration & Finance or his/her designee, and which will include provisions regarding training, background checks, verification of insurance, and waiver compliance. The Responsible Party shall communicate with involved departments (e.g., Campus Safety) as needed.
8 – Policy Enforcement
8.1 Sanctions. College faculty, staff and students who fail to comply with this Policy are subject to disciplinary procedures in accordance with state and federal laws, College rules, regulations and policies, and applicable provisions of the College’s applicable codes of conduct (student, faculty or staff handbooks). Sanctions for violations of this Policy will depend on the circumstances and the nature of the violation, but may include the full range of available sanctions applicable to the individual including suspension, dismissal, termination of employment, and, where appropriate, exclusion from campus. The College may also take necessary interim actions before a final determination of whether a violation has occurred. The College may terminate relationships or take other appropriate actions against non-College entities that violate this Policy.
8.2 Suspension of Covered Program. The College reserves the right to immediately suspend or cancel any Covered Program involving Minors that has not met the criteria set forth in this Policy.
Guidelines for Working With and Around Minors
General Abuse and/or neglect of a Minor is a difficult and emotionally-charged subject. The effects of child abuse can be devastating, especially if children are left unprotected or do not receive help to cope with the abuse. The most serious effect is that children can (and do) die as a result of abuse. Minors suffering from abuse may also develop behavioral difficulties, problems at school, delays in development, and emotional problems like depression and withdrawal. These guidelines are intended to provide information about your conduct in order to prevent abuse or unfounded allegations of abuse; define abuse and describe signs to look for; and explain how to respond to abuse or suspicions of abuse. What if a child tells me he or she is being abused?
Stay calm; ensure that the child is safe and feels safe.
Assure the child that you are taking what she/he says seriously.
Be honest; explain you will have to tell someone else to help stop the abuse. Avoid making promises you cannot keep.
Make a note of what the child has said as soon as possible.
Do not confront the alleged abuser.
Do not investigate on your own.
Behavioral Expectations for Working with or Around Minors
Those associated with Covered Programs involving Minors, and those interacting with Minors otherwise on campus, shall observe the following “do’s and don’ts” in order to maintain a safe and positive experience for Covered Program participants, encourage parental confidence, and avoid mistaken allegations.
Report any instance or suspected instance of Abuse involving a Minor as required by Virginia Law immediately.
Maintain the highest standards of personal behavior at all times when interacting with Minors.
Whenever possible, try to have another adult present when you are working with Minors in an unsupervised setting.
Conduct necessary one-on-one interactions with Minors in a public environment where you can be observed.
Ensure that adults and Minors have separate accommodations, and that Minors are housed with Minors of the same gender and of a similar age group.
Whenever possible, try to avoid being alone with a Minor, particularly in a restroom, changing area, or shower area (follow the “rule of three” and always make sure there is another person with you). Should you need to be alone with a Minor in a changing or shower area, by no means should you be unclothed with a Minor, and showering or bathing with Minors, even when you are not alone with one, is never acceptable.
Treat all Minors in a group consistently and fairly, and with respect and dignity.
Be friendly with Minors within the context of the formal Covered Program while maintaining appropriate boundaries.
Online engagements with Minors, including via social media, email, or text messages, must be justified by the particular Covered Program, and include a second adult or at a minimum, take place in a public forum.
Maintain discipline and discourage inappropriate behavior by Minors, consulting with your supervisors if you need help with misbehaving youth.
Be aware of how your actions and intention might be perceived and could be misinterpreted.
Consult with other adult supervisors or colleagues when you feel uncertain about a situation.
Spend significant time alone with one Minor away from the group or conduct private interactions with Minors in enclosed spaces or behind closed doors.
Engage in or permit inappropriate touching, including between Minors, or have any physical contact with a Minor in private locations.
Allow children to sit on your lap.
Use inappropriate language, tell inappropriate jokes, or make sexually suggestive comments around Minors, even if Minors themselves are doing so.
Allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
Give personal gifts to, or do special favors for, a Minor or do things that may be seen as favoring one Minor over others.
Share information with Minors about your private life or have informal or purely social contact with Minors who are Covered Program participants outside of Covered Program activities.
Strike or hit a Minor or use corporal punishment or other punishment involving physical or emotional pain or discomfort.
Relate to Minors as if they were your peers, conduct private correspondence or take on the role of “confidant” (outside of a professional counseling relationship).
Tell children “this is just between the two of us” or use similar language that encourages children to keep secrets from their parent/guardians.
Date or become romantically or sexually involved with a Minor. Don’t show pornography to Minors or involve Minors in pornographic activities.
Provide alcohol or drugs to Minors or use them in the presence of Minors.
Use alcohol or drugs when you are supposed to be responsible for Minors or may be called upon to respond to a situation involving a Minor.
Give any Minor a ride in a car or van unless you have express permission from the parents, and transporting a Minor is permitted only if at least two adults are present in the vehicle at all times, or multiple minors are in the vehicle at all times.
Please refer to the chart below prepared by the Virginia Department of Social Services for additional guidance: