Protection of Minors on Campus
Initially Approved: September 10, 2019
Policy Topic: Legal & Risk Management
Administering Office: Risk Management
I. POLICY STATEMENT
It is the policy of Western Carolina University to implement standards and procedures
for the protection of minors participating in programs and activities that are occurring
on its campus and for programs and activities that are under the control or direction
of the University, regardless of location.
II. SCOPE AND APPLICATION OF POLICY
This policy applies to the presence of minors on University property in Cullowhee
and any other instructional sites or facilities under the University’s operational
control. This policy is consistent with and complementary to Policy 71 and UNC Policy
1300.10 Protection of Minors on Campus.
With the exception of the mandatory reporting requirements in section VII., below,
this policy does not apply to students under the age of 18 who are enrolled or matriculated
at the University, or who are enrolled in The Catamount School pursuant to N.C.G.S.
llSC-238.50 et seq.
Covered Programs: Activities or programs primarily serving or including minors and either:
- Conducted by the University, whether located on university property or elsewhere;
- Conducted by a third-party individual or organization on university property.
Examples of Covered Programs include, but are not limited to: academic camps, athletic
camps, and other enrichment programs, whether daytime only or overnight programs.
The University has discretion in determining whether a program or activity is a Covered
Program, after considering the nature of the program, the duration and location of
the program, and the nature and level of interaction university employees, volunteers
or contractors will have with the minors participating in the program or activity.
Covered Programs generally do not include:
- externally sponsored field trips or visits that bring minors on to University property;
- programs or events that are open to the general public, such as concerts or theatrical
- programs designed exclusively for students enrolled or matriculated at the constituent
- school-related activities initiated and conducted by K-12 schools and supervised by
employees thereof, including end-of-grade testing, social activities, field days,
Covered Individuals: All individuals 18 years old or older, including employees, volunteers, and students
of WCU and owners, employees, and external organizations operating a Covered Program,
who work closely with, supervise, instruct, or otherwise come into direct, non-incidental
contact with minors in a Covered Program.
Invited guest speakers, guest lecturers, or guest instructors whose interaction with
minors is limited and only in the presence of a Covered Individual, are not required
to be considered Covered Individuals.
External Organization: An organization or individual from outside of the University that uses University
Property to conduct a Covered Program pursuant to an approved contract or other use
agreement with the University.
Minors: Minors are defined as individuals who are younger than 18 years of age and are participating
in a Covered Program. With the exception of the mandatory reporting requirements in
section VII., below, this policy does not apply to students under the age of 18 who
are enrolled or matriculated at the University, or who are enrolled in The Catamount
School pursuant to N.C.G.S. llSC-238.50 et seq.
Program Organizer: The External Organization, recognized student organization, or University department,
unit, or employee that organizes or is responsible for the overall administration
of a Covered Program.
Student Minors: Students under the age of 18 who are enrolled or matriculated at the University
or who are enrolled in The Catamount School pursuant to N.C.G.S. llSC-238.50 et seq.
University Property: All campus grounds, buildings, facilities, stadiums, or other improvements, that
are owned, leased, used, or otherwise controlled by the University.
University-sponsored: Under the direction and control of University employees acting under assigned job
IV. REGISTRATION AND APPROVAL
All Covered Programs must be registered and approved by the University prior to the
initiation of the program or activity. The registration process shall be routed through
the University Department charged with managing and supervising the University Property
to be used. The appropriate University Department shall, at minimum, collect the
following information during registration:
- A description of the proposed Covered Program;
- A Program Organizer for the proposed Covered Program;
- The designated university administrator or officer supporting the Covered Program;
- The period of time for which the Covered Program will operate;
- The expected number of employees and/or volunteers involved and minors served;
- An acknowledgement of relevant institutional policies, including requirements for
background checks, training, insurance, parking access, and facilities use;
- An acknowledgment of state mandatory reporting requirements related to suspected abuse
or neglect of a minor;
- For third party vendors, a statement acknowledging that the constituent institution
may monitor compliance with requirements for operating a Covered Program; and
- The name or position of the university administrator or officer with responsibility
for approving the proposed Covered Program.
- External Organizations must provide a finalized list of the following data at least
ten (10) days prior to the start of the Covered Program to the University unit responsible
for contracting for the University Property being utilized:
- Covered Program times and dates;
- Attendance (age range and number of Minors); and
- A designated Covered Program contact, so that in the event of an emergency, appropriate
measures may be taken.
Approval of the Covered Program will be effective after the University unit responsible
for contracting for the University Property grants approval and the parties sign Addendum
A – Protection of Minors of the Facilities Use Agreement (exhibit A). All Covered
Programs continuously or periodically operating must be re-registered and approved
by the University annually.
V. COVERED PROGRAMS INVOLVING MINORS
The following procedures and recommendations apply to all Covered Programs involving
- Program Organizer: A Program Organizer must be appointed for each Covered Program involving Minors,
whether the Covered Program is sponsored by the University or by an External Organization.
- The Program Organizer is required to ensure all Covered Individuals working with Minors
are trained within twelve months prior to working with Minors as part of the Covered
- The Program Organizer is responsible for documenting the training.
- For University-sponsored Covered Programs, all Covered Individuals shall complete
the training provided by the University. For Covered Programs sponsored by External
Organizations, all Covered Individuals shall complete the training provided by the
University or comparable training developed by the external organization or a third-party.
- Training shall include, at minimum, information about compliance with this policy,
mandatory reporting obligations, and appropriate supervision of minors.
- Background Checks
- Covered Programs must conduct background checks for all Covered Individuals at least
- The Program Organizer must certify to WCU that all Covered Individuals affiliated
with the Covered Program have been subject to a criminal background check within the
applicable timeframe and such check did not reveal any criminal convictions that violate
part V(C)(4) below; and
- For University-sponsored Covered Programs, the Program Organizer is responsible for
ensuring that criminal background checks for Covered Individuals are conducted in
accordance with University Policy 98 Employment Background Screening and the Fair
Credit Reporting Act.
- Criminal background checks must be done through a qualified background check vendor,
according to reasonable industry standards, and include searches for criminal convictions
(federal and in all states and counties in which the individual has lived), searches
against the national and state sex offender registries, and, if the individual’s responsibilities
include transporting minors, a mandatory driver’s license check. Background and driver’s
license checks should look back at least five years, or since the individual reached
the age of 18, whichever is shorter.
- Covered Individuals whose background check reveals a prior criminal conviction for
a sex offense, a crime against children, or a serious violent crime involving assault
or injury to others may not participate in a Covered Program. Additionally, Covered
Individuals whose background checks reveal other prior criminal convictions may be
prohibited from participating in a Covered Program after consideration by the Program
Organizer and responsible University administrator, in consultation with WCU legal
counsel, of the nature of the conviction and its relevance to the position. Covered
Individuals whose background check reveals serious driving-related convictions should
not be permitted to transport minors as part of their duties.
- The following types of convictions will normally render an individual ineligible to
participate in a Covered Program:
- Drug distribution activity or felony drug possession
- Sexual offenses, including stalking
- Crimes of violence involving physical injury to another person
- Child abuse, molestation, child pornography or other crimes involving child endangerment,
including neglect and abandonment
- Any other crime involving moral turpitude
- All University employees and students who are Covered Individuals must report any
criminal conviction(s) occurring between background checks to the Program Organizer,
who will evaluate whether the conviction prohibits the Covered Individual from participating
in the Covered Program consistent with section (C)(4).
- Special Programs: Some programs involving minors on campus, including but not limited to laboratory
schools created pursuant to Article 29 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes, cooperative
innovative high schools created pursuant to Part 9 of Article 16 of Chapter 115C of
the General Statutes, and day care centers, may be subject to differing or additional
statutory or regulatory requirements regarding background.
- Medical /Emergency Care
- The Program Organizer will be responsible for:
- Arranging adequate emergency medical services at all locations and access to such
services, as appropriate, after considering the nature of the events, expected attendance,
and other variables.
- Obtaining all necessary forms, including parental or guardian authorizations for participation,
medical treatment, and dispensing medication, waivers of liability, and a list of
any physical, mental, or medical conditions any Minor might have, including any allergies
that could impact his/her participation in the Covered Program. These records should
be accessible by responsible parties on a 24-hour basis.
- Establishing a procedure for the notification of the Minor's parent/legal guardian
in case of an emergency, including medical or behavioral problems, natural disasters,
or other significant disruptions.
- Maintaining an up-to-date list of Covered Program times and dates, locations, attendance
(age range and number of Minors), and a designated Covered Program contact, so that
in the event of an emergency, appropriate measures may be taken. External Organizations
must provide a copy of this list at least ten (10) days prior to the start of the
Covered Program to the University unit responsible for contracting for the University
Property being utilized.
- All Covered Programs involving Minors must be supervised by at least two (2) or more
Covered Individuals or by their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) with at least a 1:18
- Unless expressly authorized by the Program Organizer, or unless interaction involves
the provision of health care or counseling services by a licensed provider, Covered
Persons will not be alone with a single Minor. Absent one of these circumstances,
activities where Minors are present must involve two or more adults. If one‑on‑one
interaction is absolutely required, meet in open, well‑illuminated spaces or rooms
with windows observable by other adults.
- It is recommended the Program Organizer provide more supervision when considering
factors such as: the number and age of Minors, whether the Minors have special needs,
the activities involved, type of housing (if applicable), and the age and experience
of the Covered Individuals. The standards set forth in subsection V(E) are the minimum
- When Western Carolina University students are hosting high school students (including
prospective athletes) participating in pre-enrollment visitation, the requirement
for two (2) Covered Individuals shall be waived. This waiver does not apply to high
school students that are hosted by External Organizations.
- Overnight Covered Programs:
- For overnight Covered Programs housed on University Property, Covered Individuals
must reside in the same housing building, and preferably the same floor. Additionally,
a Covered Individual should be “on duty” during overnight hours to respond to any
circumstances where a Minor requires assistance. For purposes of this policy “on duty”
means actively monitoring the location where Minors are housed including overnight
- Separate sleeping accommodations are required for Covered Individuals and Minors,
unless the Covered Individual is a parent, guardian, or sibling of the Minor.
- All guests and visitors of Minors staying in University housing are restricted to
building lobby and lounge areas and only during the hours specified by the Program
Organizer, which in no case shall be later than 12:00am.
- Program Organizers must certify to the University that they have obtained signed written
permission from a parent or guardian for a Minor to stay overnight on University Property.
VI. MINORS ON CAMPUS COMMITTEE
- The Minors on Campus Committee shall consist, at minimum, of the following positions
or position designee:
- Executive Director of Educational Outreach
- Executive Director of Residential Living
- General Counsel
- Police Chief
- Director of Safety and Risk Management
- The Committee will develop and make available to the Program Organizer required training,
a list of qualified background check vendors, and specific rules or procedures applicable
to the Covered Program involving Minors.
- The Committee, with the input of stakeholders, will provide consultation to Program
Organizers, as needed, to determine whether a program is a Covered Program and/or
whether a minor is a student minor.
VII. DUTY TO REPORT INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT OR SUSPECTED INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT
- In addition to Covered Individuals, every member of the University community has an
obligation to immediately report suspected abuse or neglect of a Minor or Student
Minor pursuant to North Carolina state law (G.S. 7B-301).
- WCU employees shall be trained annually on the mandatory reporting requirements of
this policy and N.C.G.S. § 7B-301.
- External Organizations shall be responsible for training Covered Individuals on mandatory
reporting requirements of this policy and N.C.G.S. § 7B-301 and providing certification
that such training was conducted within the last twelve months.
- Individuals reporting inappropriate conduct or suspected inappropriate conduct in
good faith are protected under North Carolina law from criminal and civil liability
for making the report. Furthermore, it is the policy of the University that a good-faith
report of suspected abuse or neglect must not be retaliated against in the terms and
conditions of employment or educational program.
- In the event an individual suspects inappropriate conduct or receives an allegation
of inappropriate conduct, the individual must immediately:
- Ensure the safety of any minors, irrespective of any other limitation or requirement,
including removal of minors from dangerous or potentially dangerous situations.
- Notify WCU Police immediately at 828-227-8911.
- Report the incident to the local Department of Social Services:
- Jackson County Department of Social Services, Child Protection section (828.586.5546),
- Macon County Department of Social Services, Child Protection Services (828.349.2124),
- Buncombe County Department of Social Services, Child Protective Services (828.250.5900),
- If the suspected or alleged inappropriate conduct involves a Covered Individual participating
in a Covered Program, the Program Organizer must discontinue any further participation
by that Covered Individual in any activities covered by this Policy until the situation
has been satisfactorily resolved.
Failure to abide with this Policy shall be considered a violation of University Policy.
IX. POLICY REVIEW
This policy shall be reviewed and revised as necessary every 2 years.
X. RELATED POLICIES AND RESOURCES
Addendum A - Covered Programs for Minors
WCU Standard Facilities Use Agreement
Protection of Minors Training Module 1
UNC Policy Manual