Policy on the Protection of Minors on Campus
Policy Category and Number: Executive
Effective Date: 4/26/2023
Responsible Officer: Director of Compliance and Risk
Management History: Policy on Protections of Minors and Vulnerable Adults on Campus, 2017
Responsible Office: Office of General Counsel
Wentworth Institute of Technology (University) seeks to provide a safe environment for any minor who may engage with the university as a participant in an event involving minors.
This policy and its accompanying guidelines and procedures establish consistent standards in helping to sup-port the university in this commitment.
This policy applies to all students, employees, vendors, visitors, volunteers, and other third-parties responsible for events involving minors.
This policy does not apply to the following university programs:
- Performances or events open to the general public (such as athletic competitions, plays, concerts, and lectures).
- Events or activities where parents/guardians are explicitly required to accompany minors.
- Visits and tours for prospective students organized by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
- Visits by minors over the age of sixteen, including overnight stays in University housing facilities by candidates for admission, prospective student-athletes, or other University-related programming; provided, however, that all such visitors shall be fully subject to the Wentworth Student Code of Conduct while on campus.
- University employees or students participating in a community outreach volunteer program or public event run by outside organizations. However, community service programs involving minors and coordinated by the University must adhere to this policy.
Wentworth Institute of Technology is committed to promoting the health, safety, and well-being of minors participating in all events involving minors. Accordingly, all existing and future events in which minors may participate shall be developed and implemented under the procedures outlined in this policy.
The purpose of this policy is to:
- Establish standards of conduct for interactions between minors and all university members including students, faculty, staff, volunteers, visitors, and/or third-party contractors.
- Establish procedures for reporting any suspected abuse or neglect of minors.
- Provide guidelines for program registration, training, reporting, background screening, and other requirements relevant to the protection of minors and others participating in events involving minors.
- Approving Dean or Vice President: The vice president or dean has responsibility over an administrative or academic unit, respectively. If an event using University facilities is sponsored by an external group, the approving dean or vice president shall be the vice president or dean arranging or authorizing the use of the facilities.
- Authorized Adult: An individual who is 18 years of age or older, who is authorized under this policy to supervise minors participating in an event involving minors. This may include an employee, student, independent contractor, or volunteer (paid or unpaid). Authorized adults must comply with all provisions of this policy. A parent or legal guardian may act as an authorized adult only if they comply with this policy. A matriculating student who is under the age of eighteen may be an authorized adult.
- Background Check: A criminal history search consistent with Wentworth’s Background Check Policy, and includes a search of the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI or a CORI-equivalent in any jurisdiction where a person has lived in the past seven years), and a search of the Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI or SORI-equivalent) within the past four years.
- Child Abuse: The non-accidental commission of any act by a caretaker upon a minor which causes, or creates a substantial risk of, physical or emotional injury, or constitutes a sexual offense under the laws of the Commonwealth; or any sexual contact between a parent/guardian/caretaker and a minor.1
- Child Neglect: The failure, by a parent or caretaker, either deliberately or through negligence or inability, to take actions necessary to provide a minor, minimally adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, supervision, emotional stability, growth, or other essential care. 2
- Designated Agent: The person to whom a mandated reporter can notify of suspected child abuse or neglect. The designated agent is then responsible for reporting to the appropriate agency. The university’s designated agent is the Wentworth Police Department and can be contacted at 617-989-4400.
- External Group: Any group, organization, person, or program not directly affiliated with Wentworth. For purposes of this policy, individuals who are employed by or affiliated with the university (e.g., alumni) shall be considered external groups if they seek to use buildings or facilities in an individual capacity or as a representative of a third-party organization. Additionally, student groups or organizations that are not recognized student organizations shall be considered external groups for purposes of this policy. Only external groups involving minors must adhere to this policy.
- Event Involving Minors: Any planned gathering of individuals or groups, including, but not limited to, performances, forums, rallies, dances, speakers, conferences, concerts, lectures, social functions, celebrations, protests, tailgates, presentations, camps, programs, classes, practice, tournaments, fairs, meetings, competitions, and games involving minors which is affiliated with an external or internal group as defined by this policy.
- Internal Group: Any university department, program, or recognized student club or organization requesting to use a WIT facility for its own purposes. For purposes of clarification, a university department, program, or recognized student club or organization is not considered an Internal Group if it is requesting the use of a university facility on behalf of or for the use of an external group. Only internal groups involving minors must adhere to this policy.
- Affiliated Program(s): A program conducted by a Wentworth-recognized organization, group, or individual, which is affiliated with Wentworth by grants or mission-consistent goals, and which is conducted by faculty and/or staff employed by Wentworth. Affiliated programs include Colleges of the Fenway Programs and the Alumni Association.
- Mandated Reporter: An individual designated by Massachusetts State law as required to report, or cause a report to be made, of Child Abuse or Neglect. For this policy, all Wentworth employees and volunteers serving as authorized Aaults are mandatory reporters under Massachusetts law.3
- Minor: A person who is not a student and who is under the age of eighteen. A full-time student and/or high-school student cross-registered for courses at the University is not regarded as a minor for purposes of this policy.
- Program Administrator: The Wentworth employee, or designee, who is designated as the primary contact for the external or internal group. The program administrator is responsible for the management and oversight of internal and external groups and/or an event involving minors. The program administrator ensures compliance with this policy and is responsible for identifying and supervising authorized adults.
- Program Supervisors: The Wentworth employee, or designee, who is responsible for the management of the internal group and/or event and for supervision of authorized adults.
- Sponsored Group: An external group sponsored by an internal group while meeting the following conditions or requirements:
- The sponsored group and the associated use of Wentworth facilities is consistent with the mission of the university; and
- The internal group has direct involvement with planning and execution of the event.
- Please note: For all events involving sponsored groups, the internal group that is serving as the sponsor must take on the following responsibilities:
- Serve as the sole point of contact for all other university department(s) and individual(s) providing support for the program;
- Coordinate all arrangements related to the program with the relevant university department(s) and individual(s);
- Ensure that a representative of the internal group that is serving as the sponsor is onsite at all times throughout the event; and
- Ensure compliance with this policy and all other university policies, procedures, and requirements applicable to the event.
Presence of Minors on Campus
- Students, faculty, staff, third parties, or volunteers who bring a minor to campus for a purpose other than participation in an event, are expected to provide supervision, as necessary and appropriate, to ensure the health and safety of the minor.
- All minors, including those participating in an internal or external group, shall be subject to all university regulations and may be asked to leave the campus if they fail to comply with established rules or expectations, including those identified in university policies
- Additional requirements may apply, and additional considerations should be made for the presence of minors in a laboratory, studio, or other higher-risk locations due to the potential exposure to hazardous materials, equipment, or other processes in these areas.
- The university reserves the right to condition, restrict, or deny access to university facilities by minors at its discretion.
Requirements for Authorized Adults
Any individual who plans to participate in an internal or external group as an authorized adult must meet each of the following criteria:
- Background Check. All individuals who will serve as authorized adults must complete a background check before participating in any event. Background checks will be performed prior to employment. Background checks for returning employees must occur every two years. Some programs may require more frequent background checks. Authorized adults are encouraged to self-disclose to Human Resources any changes that may occur while participating or supporting an internal or external group.
- Training. All individuals who serve as authorized adults must receive training before the commencement of the program. The training may be in-person or online and must satisfy the requirements for Mandated Reporters under M.G.L c. 119, § 51A.
Requirements for Internal and Authorized Groups
Questions and determinations regarding group status shall be made by the Office of General Counsel.
Unless otherwise exempt as specified above, all internal and sponsored groups must comply with the following terms and conditions, as well as any other applicable requirements of federal, state, or local law or regulations:
- Program Registration. The program administrator must register any event involving minors by submitting a Minors on Campus Registration Form to the Director of Compliance and Risk Management. Registration will not be approved without a communication, medical emergency, supervision, and transportation plan for the group.
Program administrators should make a good-faith effort to submit the Registration Form 30 calendar days before the commencement of the Program. Additionally, the Director of Compliance and Risk Management may develop and publish additional guidelines regarding the administration of such programs.
- Waiver: The parent/guardian for minors enrolling or participating in an internal and sponsored group must execute a University Participation and Release Agreement available through the Director of Compliance and Risk Management. It is the responsibility of the program administrator to ensure that all executed waivers have been collected before the start of the program.
Requirements for External Groups
External groups shall be required to execute and deliver the following before authorization by an approving vice president or dean to make use of university facilities:
- A Minors on Campus Registration Form.
- A Facilities License Agreement setting forth the specific facilities to be used, the dates and hours of permitted access, and other terms applicable to such use; Facilities License Agreements can be obtained by contacting Auxiliary Services.
- Signed certification that the external program meets all the qualifications for Internal Groups, including without limitation, all provisions concerning program registration, waivers, training, and background checks of all authorized adults.
- The University’s Indemnification Agreement, defending and holding the Institute harmless against any claims arising from the actions of the external group, its employees, or volunteers, and from any failure to conform to the requirements of this policy.
In addition to the behaviors outlined above, the university prohibits the following conduct in both Internal and external groups:
- Unobserved or unsupervised one-on-one contact between a minor and any authorized adult, or other adult associated with the program in any way.
- Corporal punishment, inappropriate touching, and horseplay.
- Hazing or bullying of any kind.
- Presence, use, or consumption of vape pens, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, or other illegal drugs.
- Presence or use of sexually explicit literature or other media of any kind.
- Presence or use of firearms or weapons of any kind.
- Gifts exchanges between authorized adults and minors.
- Inappropriate use of cameras, audio or video equipment, or computers.
- Any private communication not about program matters between authorized adults and minors by email, text messaging, or social media; or
- Transportation of minors by authorized adults except in conformance with a transportation plan.
Reporting Suspected Abuse or Neglect
To report suspected child abuse and neglect in MA, call 1-800-792-5200. This is a 24-hour number.
All authorized adults are mandated reporters under Massachusetts law. Mandated reporters are required to report all instances where they have reasonable cause to believe a child is suffering physically or emotionally from abuse, including sexual abuse. These reports can be made to the University’s designated agent, the Wentworth Police Department (617-989-4400). WPD is the university’s designated agent to receive reports under M.G.L c. 119, § 51A, and will assist in making required oral and written reports to the appropriate agencies.
Authorized adults may also contact the Department of Children and Families and make a report directly during regular business hours to the office in the city in which the child lives. If it is after hours, contact the Child-at-Risk Hotline at 800-792-5200.
All authorized adults who have made a report, must also contact the Office of Compliance and Risk Management (617-989-4413) to inform the Office that a report has been made. iii. Allegations of sexual misconduct must also be reported to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, per the University’s Policy on Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct.
In addition, all employees serving as authorized adults in an event involving minors are “Campus Security Authorities” under the Institute’s Policy on the reporting of crimes under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure and Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the “Clery Act”).
Reporting Unsupervised Minors
All members of the university community are encouraged to report the presence of unaccompanied minors on campus, as well as any inappropriate conduct by a minor and/or an authorized adult to the Wentworth Police Department (617-989-4400)
Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures by the Employee Policies and Procedures Guide; Collective Bargaining Agreements, and/or the Student Code of Conduct.
Additional Information & Related Documents
Interpretation & Revision
Any questions of interpretation regarding this policy shall be referred to the Director of Compliance and Risk Management. They will be the final authority regarding the interpretation of this policy
This policy shall be reviewed every three years; however, minor changes and updates can be made at any time.
Wentworth will typically apply the policy in place at the time it receives a report concerning the respected policy.
Additionally, in instances where two or more policies are implicated, a case-by-case determination will be made to determine what policy will be used.
Review and Revision of History
This policy was drafted by representatives from the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Compliance and Risk Management, Student Affairs, and Purchasing and Auxiliary Services. It was reviewed by Cabinet and approved by the President on April 26, 2023.
This policy replaces the Policy on Protections of Minors and Vulnerable Adults on Campus, 2017 and related procedures.