Policy Governing Conduct with Minors

Occidental College seeks to maintain a safe environment for children under the age of 18 who participate in programs or activities that occur on campus or under the control or direction of the College regardless of location. 

Responsible Officials:

Director, Human Resources
Senior Risk and Insurance Manager

Effective June 1, 2017

Policy Statement

Occidental College (“Oxy" or “College") seeks to maintain a safe environment for children under the age of 18 who participate in programs or activities that occur on campus or under the control or direction of the College regardless of location (“Programs"). Members of the Oxy Community and others who interact with, supervise, or oversee persons under the age of 18 in such Programs are subject to this Policy Governing Conduct with Minors.

This Policy applies to Programs on Oxy’s campus, or at other locations under the authority or direction of Oxy, at which people under the age of 18 participate (including day or overnight Programs). Camps (for instance, athletics, debate, math, and science camps), clinics, laboratory workshops, and similar activities intended for elementary and high school students are covered by this Policy.

This Policy does not apply to, and specifically exempts, Programs that are limited to the following:

  • Oxy students. People under the age of 18 who are enrolled Oxy students, including incoming students participating in MSI, OxyEngage, Orientation, intercollegiate athletics, and similar programming, are covered under the Student Handbook and related College policies.
  • Other college/university students. People under the age of 18 who participate in Oxy academic programs or activities by virtue of being enrolled in another college or university are covered by their own institutions’ and related College policies.
  • Approved Research. Research and teaching programs are subject to the review and approval of an Oxy- sponsored Institutional Review Board (IRB).
  • The Child Development Center. The Center is subject to childcare licensing and required to comply with all laws concerning the protection of minors under its care.
  • Campus visits. Admissions has specific program requirements for overnight visits by prospective students that align with this policy.
  • Designated exceptions. The Senior Risk and Insurance Manager may designate other programs or events as exempt from this Policy in advance and in writing.

In some instances, though the Policy applies to a Program, the program staff background check and training requirements of this policy do not apply. Those circumstances are:

  • Events on campus which are open to the general public and which persons under the age of 18 attend at the sole discretion of their parent(s)/guardian(s), such as Screen on the Green, fairs, sporting events and other community events;
  • Non-residential (no overnight) individual events with a total annual duration of 8 hours or less.

However, events open to the general public and one-day events must still be registered with the appropriate Vice President in the department overseeing the event, have adequate adult supervision, and College Liaisons must abide by Oxy’s guidelines for appropriate behavior with minors. In addition, Authorized Adults for these events must include at least one identified adult staff person present at all times who has a current background check on file with Human Resources.

Entities Covered by this Policy

All units of the College, including student organizations sponsoring a Program.

Contacts

Please direct any questions about this policy to:

Director of Human Resources, jacalynf@oxy.edu or (323) 259-2613
Senior Risk and Insurance Manager, risk@oxy.edu or (323) 259-1364

Definitions

  • Minor. Anyone under age 18 who participates in a Program and is not exempted from this Policy.
  • College Facilities. Facilities owned by, or under the control of, the College.
  • Campus Programs. Programs intended for minors which are run by Oxy, and are not exempted from this Policy
  • External Programs. Programs and activities that are operated by a third party which use Oxy facilities.
  • College Liaison. A College employee designated as the primary contact for a Campus or External Program, or their designee.
  • Authorized Adults. Adults, paid or unpaid, who supervise Programs, supervise Minors participating in Programs, or who regularly spend time alone with Minors in Programs (including adults who reside with Minors in residence halls for overnight Programs). Authorized Adults may be members of the Oxy Community, Campus Programs, or External Programs.
  • Oxy Community. Oxy employees, students, post-doctoral fellows, casual/temporary workers, independent contractors, and volunteers.

Presence of Minors on Campus

Oxy reserves the right to condition, restrict, or deny access by persons under the age of 18 to College Facilities at Oxy’s discretion. All persons under the age of 18, including but not limited to Minors participating in Programs, shall be subject to all Oxy regulations while on campus and may be asked to leave campus if they do not comply. All Minors must be advised of and adhere to the College's Code of Student Conduct and behavioral standards generally applicable to students as appropriate for their age, including rules that prohibit discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, bullying, the use and possession of alcohol and drugs (including marijuana), and other forms of misconduct.

Campus Programs

Programs subject to this Policy must comply with the following terms and conditions, as well as with any other applicable requirements of federal, state, or local law:

A. Registration:

The College Liaison must register a Program through the College’s online Registration Form. All Programs must be approved by the appropriate Vice President or designated approver in the department overseeing the event at least 30 days before the Program begins (unless the time frame is waived for good cause).

No one under age 18 may participate in a Program until his or her parent(s)/legal guardian(s) provides emergency contact information and signs an Assumption of Risk, Release of Liability, and Indemnity Agreement, and an Emergency Medical Care and Release Authorization. A Media Release Agreement should also be signed. Copies of the signed originals of each form must be provided to the Senior Risk and Insurance Manager immediately upon the Program’s conclusion[1]. The required waiver of liability and medical authorization forms appear at the end of this Policy and must be used.

B. Communication:

All Programs in which Minors participate should have a procedure for notifying the participants’ parents/legal guardians in the event of an emergency. The College Liaison will maintain a copy of the participants’ emergency contact information on site until the Program concludes.

All parents/legal guardians of Minors should be provided with contact information (including the names of persons to contact) to reach participants while the Program is in session.

C. Medical Emergencies:

All Programs must obtain: (i) authorization for transportation and emergency medical treatment of Minors in the event that the parents/legal guardians and the designated emergency contacts are not available; and (ii) disclosure of any allergies or other medical condition or physical limitation that might impact a Minor’s participation in the Program.

In the event that any participants require administration of medicines during the Program, necessary procedures shall be established in accordance with applicable law. Any and all information concerning a participant’s medical condition or physical limitations shall be treated as confidential and shared only on a need-to-know basis.

D. Supervision:

All Programs in which Minors participate must have adequate supervision in light of the number and average age of participants, the Program activity, and whether overnight accommodations are involved. A minimum of two Authorized Adults is recommended in case of emergency.

  • For daytime Programs, the ratio of Minors to adults should generally be 8:1 (for children up to age 14) or 10:1 (for children ages 15-17).
  • For overnight Programs, an Authorized Adult must reside in each of the residence halls where Minors are housed, with the ratio of Minors to adults generally being 10:1. The Program should specify age-appropriate curfews, rules pertaining to any visitors, and limitations on the use of free time.

Background Checks and Training for Campus Program

College Liaisons may not register a Program and Authorized Adults may not have direct contact with Minors participating in a Program, until and unless they have successfully completed (i) a criminal background check as required by law and (ii) a training program on the protection of children from abuse approved by the Oxy Human Resources Department. After the initial background check, subsequent background checks for College Liaisons or Authorized Adults who participate in Programs will occur every two years. In addition, the College Liaison or appropriate designee must develop and provide all Authorized Adults with an explanation of their responsibilities (job description), applicable standards of conduct, Program policies and procedures, the manner in which such policies and procedures are enforced, training in appropriate crisis/emergency responses, safety and security precautions, confidentiality issues involving Minors, and such other matters as the College deems appropriate with respect to a particular Program.

External Programs

Organizations or individuals who operate External Programs must meet recognized standards of appropriate conduct and oversight, conduct criminal background checks as required by law, provide staff training equivalent to that required for Campus Programs, maintain appropriate staffing ratios, and report incidents according to Reporting Requirements below. Questions about External Programs can be directed to conference@oxy.edu or 323-259-2795.

Behavioral Standards

Individuals serving as College Liaisons or Authorized Adults must:

Always be vigilant in protecting the well-being and safety of Minors participating in Programs.

Watch for signs of Minor abuse or neglect. Promptly report any known or reasonably suspected instances of abuse or neglect, as well as any violations of this Policy or law.

Adhere to and observe appropriate behavior and boundaries with Minors, including the following:

  • Avoid being completely alone with an individual Minor, particularly in a place that is not commonly viewed as a normal meeting area. Trips in College vehicles and walks through the campus, for example, should include either more than one adult or more than one child. This does not mean that Authorized Adults are prohibited from taking a Minor aside for a brief, confidential conversation about the Minor ’s behavior or to discuss some matter at the Minor ’s request. This does mean that such a meeting should ideally take place in the presence of a second adult or in full view of other people.
  • Unless required by the nature of the activity (for example, counseling or therapy sessions), avoid meeting individually with a Minor behind closed doors, regardless of gender. This applies when tutoring or providing individual lessons or academic guidance.
  • Use good judgment about physical closeness. Avoid contact that may be misinterpreted. This does not mean that an Authorized Adult may not give a Minor a “high-five" or touch his/her shoulder to get his/her attention. However, Authorized Adults should not touch a Minor in an intimate way, against his or her will, or engage in highly physical contact, such as picking him/her up, giving back rubs, tickling, roughhousing, or horseplay. Never administer corporal punishment.
  • Use good judgment about restroom trips. Do not go into the stall with a Minor. It is best to bring more than one Minor at a time to the restroom, but if that is not possible, maintain an appropriate distance from the stall.
  • Use good judgment about verbal or electronic communications with or about Minors. Do not disclose confidential information, and do not disclose or respond to questions involving intimate relationships or sexual matters.
  • Use discretion and consider the age of the Minor when discussing personal issues.
  • Use words with care. Never berate, intimidate, harass, or belittle a Minor. Giving praise is appropriate, but use discretion when complimenting Minors. Do not get too personal. Be constantly aware of your responsibilities and position as a role model.
  • Do not take pictures of Minors except for allowable use of photography for Program-related purposes.
  • Do not “friend" Minors or approach them on social networks; provided, however, nothing herein shall prohibit communications between athletic coaches and recruits that are otherwise appropriate under NCAA guidelines.
  • Do not provide Minors with alcohol or legal/illegal drugs. Authorized Adults are prohibited from being under the influence of alcohol or illegal/impairing legal drugs while supervising Minors.
  • Avoid engaging in any behavior commonly deemed unprofessional, unethical, or immoral, either directly or indirectly with a Minor or in the presence of a Minor.
  • If you are ever unsure about what is appropriate, seek advice from a supervisor or director, and always err on the side of caution.

In connection with overnight Programs, the following boundaries must be observed:

  • Avoid being alone with a Minor in the Minor ’s room, in your room, or in any other bedroom.
  • Never sleep in a Minor ’s room or allow a Minor to sleep in your room.
  • College Liaisons or Authorized Adults may not bring visitors or guests to their rooms in the residence halls. Guests of participants (other than parents/legal guardians) are restricted to visitation in the residence hall lobby and/or floor lounges, and only during approved hours specified by the Program, which shall in no case be later than midnight.
  • Use discretion when changing your clothes around Minors. Change in an area away from Minors.
  • Use discretion when supervising while Minors are showering, changing, or using the restroom.

Allegations of Inappropriate Conduct

College Liaisons and Authorized Adults shall:

  • Immediately report any violation of the behavioral standards of this Policy to the College Liaison, Campus Safety, and/or emergency responders as appropriate.
  • Immediately report any known or reasonably suspected instances of abuse or neglect, as described in Other Reporting Responsibilities below.
  • Assure the safety of Minors, irrespective of any other limitation or requirements. This includes a duty to remove Minors from dangerous or potentially dangerous situations and to immediately notify Campus Safety, as appropriate, of the dangerous condition.
  • Discontinue any further participation in the Program when an allegation of inappropriate conduct has been made against him/her, until such allegation has been satisfactorily resolved.

Other Reporting Responsibilities

All Oxy employees, students, contractors and volunteers should care about minors, and we strongly encourage them to report any instances of known or reasonably suspected abuse, molestation or neglect relating to children, as follows.

Those members of the College Community covered by California's Mandated Reporter laws must report any instances of known or reasonably suspected abuse, molestation or neglect relating to children in covered programs. All College Liaisons and Authorized Adults must be familiar with and comply as required with CANRA laws regardless of whether any Minors are exempt from this specific Policy. Two concurrent reports must be made:

External report

The external report must be placed to the Department of Children and Family Services Child Protection Hotline at (800) 540-4000, or to the LAPD (or your local law enforcement agency if outside the city of Los Angeles).

Failure by a California Mandated Reporter of the College Community to make these reports as soon as possible will subject him/her to discipline up to and including termination and/or dismissal.

Internal report

As an on-campus resource, Oxy’s Campus Safety department should be immediately notified. From all locations, call (323) 259-2599.

In addition, all College Liaisons and Authorized Adults must be familiar with the College’s Clery Act Reporting requirements and Sexual Misconduct policy, which also covers obligations related to other issues (such as sexual misconduct, dating and domestic violence, and stalking).

Oxy Internal Forms

Program Forms for Parents/Guardians


[1] At program conclusion, the Senior Risk and Insurance Manager will retain records up to 2 years after a participant reaches age 18, or in accord with the statute of limitations.