Minors on Campus Memo

Requirements and procedures effectuating WMU Board of Trustees policy involving minors

Friday, April 11, 2014

Western Michigan University offers a tremendous amount of opportunities for minors to participate in programs at WMU with a mutual benefit for both the participants and those providing the programs. It is, however, extremely important that those from the University who provide these programs, activities, and camps (collectively programs) provide safe and protective environments for participating minors. Minors are all individuals under the age of 18.

In 2013, the WMU Board of Trustees adopted the Policy on Western Michigan University Programs and Activities Involving Minors regarding all existing and future programs. WMU continues to proactively obtain information to assist personnel in their responsibilities to comply with this Board policy. This includes attending conferences, discussions with peers and bringing consultants to campus to make recommendations on how to best ensure the safety and best interests of all those involved. Much of this information is available at wmich.edu/legal/minors-on-campus.

Those developing and administering programs involving minors should especially reference the checklists to see where they can improve their procedures involving minors on campus. Board policy requires appropriate training for those WMU employees, students and volunteers coming in direct contact with minors in these University programs, which includes training on reporting of child abuse as mandated or allowed under state law.

In addition, WMU units and authorized individuals developing and administering programs involving minors are responsible for obtaining background checks for individuals who have direct interaction with, supervise or are responsible for minors, including volunteers, employees or independent contractors. The costs of these background checks will be the responsibility of the units or individuals offering the programs. Please contact Human Resources with questions or concerns on this requirement, or for information on how to have the background checks conducted.

Prior to beginning the program, faculty and staff are also responsible for obtaining appropriate permission and release forms that have been approved by Business Services from parents or legal guardians (Note: Do not request social security numbers). Depending on the nature of the program, they may be required to obtain and pay for additional insurance.

At wmich.edu/legal/minors-on-campus there are many other topics, items and suggestions available to make your program involving minors safer and more protective for all involved. Keep in mind that this is a compilation of information from various sources. Due to the varying types of programs involving minors of different ages, not all of the information will apply to your program. Thus, it is not possible to provide a one-size-fits-all set of requirements. Units and individuals involved in developing and administering programs have the duty to examine theirs on a case-by-case basis and implement appropriate safeguards. Review all of the available information and requirements and determine what is needed to do to comply with Board policy.

Contact Timothy Kellogg at (269) 387-4827 with any concerns or questions regarding this issue.