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Skidmore College
Skidmore College
Protection of Minors Policy

Protection of Minors Policy


I. PURPOSE 

Skidmore College is committed to the safety of all individuals in its community.  The College has particular concern for those most vulnerable, including minor children, who require an increased level of care and protection. This Policy establishes guidelines for those in the Skidmore community with the goal of maintaining a safe and positive experience for minors, encourage parental confidence, and avoid mistaken allegations. 

II. SCOPE 

This Policy provides guidelines that apply broadly to interactions between minors and Skidmore’s faculty, staff, students and volunteers (each category detailed below), as well as for on-campus partners in any College-run or College-sponsored programs or activities.

Faculty

This category includes all positions and titles within the Faculty Handbook

Staff

This category includes all Skidmore staff, including exempt, non-exempt, and union members

Students

This category includes all enrolled students

Volunteers

This category includes volunteers (as defined by College policy

This Policy also establishes requirements for non-College organizations and entities that operate programs or activities involving minors on College property.  All Skidmore College faculty, staff, students, volunteers and on-campus partners are responsible for understanding and complying with this Policy.

III. DEFINITIONS 

  • Abuse or Neglect of Minors, for purposes of this Policy, means infliction of physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, or negligent treatment or maltreatment of a person under age 18. (NYS Family Court Act § 1012 sub. [e] and [f]).
  • Minor, for purposes of this Policy, means any person under the age of 18 (NYS General Obligations Law § 1-202). The conduct requirements in the Policy apply to those who are under the age of 18.  This Policy and its requirements do not apply to the following programs or activities:
    • Single performances or events open to the general public not targeted toward minors.
    • Social functions that may be attended by minors who are accompanied by their parents/guardians.
    • Traditional teaching in a classroom setting.
    For Skidmore activities occurring outside of New York State, the College defers to the legal definition of a minor in the applicable jurisdiction.
  • Physical Injury, means impairment of physical condition or substantial pain. NYS Penal Law 10.00 (9).
  • Sexual Abuse, means subjecting another person to sexual contact without the latter's consent. NYS Penal Law § 130.55.
  • Sexual Conduct, means sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct, aggravated sexual contact, or sexual contact. NYS Penal Law § 130.00 (10).
  • Sexual Contact, means any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party.  It includes the touching of the actor by the victim, as well as the touching of the victim by the actor, whether directly or through clothing, as well as the emission of ejaculate by the actor upon any part of the victim, clothed or unclothed. NYS Penal Law § 130.00 (3).

For additional definitions, please refer to the College’s Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy terminology, located at https://www.skidmore.edu/sgbm/terminology.php.

IV. RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONDUCT 

Members of the Skidmore College community (including faculty, staff, students, volunteers and on-campus partners), who interact with, supervise, chaperone, or otherwise oversee minors in programs or activities at the College, are expected to:

  • Be vigilant in protecting the safety and well-being of minors.
  • Remove a minor from a dangerous situation immediately.
  • Report any suspected instances of abuse, neglect, inappropriate conduct or violations of this Policy as outlined below (see page 5 for reporting procedures).  Additionally, when interacting with minors at an off-campus location during College sponsored activities, suspected minor abuse should be reported to local law enforcement officials as well as complying with the College’s reporting requirements.
  • Make every attempt to ensure that any one-on-one contact with a minor is observed or supervised by other adults to the extent possible.
  • Wear and display a Skidmore identification card during activities where minors are present.  Outside of the traditional teaching setting, nametags or other identification must be worn or displayed whenever interacting with minors in your official capacity (including after hours or when on-call).  In addition to the standard identification card on a lanyard, nametags may be incorporated into one’s uniform (i.e., embroidered name on shirt), or for faculty office hours, the room’s nameplate can function as identification.  Nameplates on faculty/staff office doors will suffice as identification when meeting with minors (in lieu of nametags).
  • The following conduct is prohibited:
    • Any form of inappropriate physical contact (e.g., striking, hitting, shaking, inappropriate touching, horseplay, hazing, bullying or administering corporal punishment) or the emotional abuse of a minor.
    • Offering or making a gift to a minor for the purpose of engaging in or not reporting any prohibited conduct.
    • Using alcohol or illegal drugs, or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs during a program or activity.
    • Enabling, facilitating or failing to address a minor's use of alcohol or illegal/non-prescribed drugs.
    • Using vulgar or discriminatory language, sharing gossip or inappropriate personal information, such as dating or relationship history, with or in the presence of minors.
    • Meeting with minors outside of established times for program activities.
    • Engaging in any inappropriate private non-program related communication with a minor (e.g., email, text messaging, social media, telephone, etc.).  When engaged in private program related communications, community members are reminded to take appropriate steps to reduce the appearance of isolation and/or appearance of impropriety (e.g., leave doors open, remain within sight of or be accompanied by another staff member, etc.).
    • Engaging in misconduct of any kind towards or in the presence of a minor, including but not limited to:
      • Sexual abuse of a minor;
      • Touching a minor in an inappropriate or illegal manner
      • Making pornography or other sexually inappropriate materials in any form available to a minor or assisting a minor in gaining access to such materials.
    • Neglecting the duty of care for a minor, including but not limited to:
      • Failing to protect a minor’s health and safety (e.g., exposure to unreasonable risk of injury or extreme weather)
      • Failing to ensure the use of appropriate protective equipment (e.g., in laboratory or athletic participation)
      • Failing to meet a minor’s needs (e.g., food, clothing, shelter, emotional needs) as warranted by the circumstances of the minor’s participation in the College program or activity;
      • Leaving a minor unsupervised;
      • Using inappropriate language (e.g., curse words or words discriminatory in nature) in the presence of a minor.
    • Taking pictures of minors for non-programmatic use, unless their parent or legal guardian has given express permission.
    • Dressing provocatively or inappropriately.
    • Releasing a minor to someone other than a parent/guardian from any program or activity without a written authorization from the minor’s parent or guardian (authorized individual must be at least 18 years of age).

V. SUPERVISION 

All College-run or College-sponsored programs or activities will adhere to the following minimum staff to minor supervision ratios by age of minor:

If youngest member of group is Supervision required
5 years or younger 1 staff for each 6 minors
6-8 years  1 staff for each 8 minors
9-14 years 1 staff for each 10 minors
15-17 years 1 staff for each 12 minors

Additionally, at least 80 percent of the program/activity supervising staff must be 18 years of age or older and all staff must be at least 16 years of age and at least 2 years older than the minor with whom they are working.

During certain circumstances, these staffing ratios may be modified with limited scope or duration by the appropriate President’s Cabinet member.

VI. TRAINING REQUIREMENTS 

All faculty, staff, students, and volunteers must complete, annually, an online awareness training from United Educators (UE) entitled “Protecting Children: Shine a Light”.  The training is designed to assist those in higher education to better understand the warning signs of sexual abuse, identify specific locations to monitor, and the steps to report incidents or suspicions.

VII. REPORTING SUSPECTED ABUSE OF MINORS 

Every member of the Skidmore College community is obligated to report known and suspected instances of the abuse of Minors as outlined in this Policy.

Reporting

If you have “reasonable cause" to suspect that a minor participating in any Skidmore run or sponsored program or activity is being or has been abused or neglected, or you have any concerns regarding the safety of a minor, take the following steps:

  1. If a minor is in immediate danger or you require emergency assistance, immediately call 911.
  2. If the minor’s parent or other person who is legally responsible for the minor is suspected of abusing, neglecting or abusing the minor, call the New York State Child Abuse & Maltreatment Hotline: 800-342-3720 (be sure to obtain an ID number and representative name when calling the hotline to provide to Campus Safety).
  3. Call Skidmore College Campus Safety: 518-580-5566;
  4. Notification to the minor’s parent(s), or person(s) in parental relation, will done jointly by Law Enforcement and Campus Safety, unless that person(s) is the suspected wrongdoer.  

VIII. Protection of Reporting Parties 

Retaliatory action against anyone acting in good faith who has reported inappropriate conduct/child abuse in accordance with this Policy, or who has been involved in reporting, investigating, or responding to inappropriate conduct/child abuse, is a violation of this Policy.   Individuals are to report allegations of retaliation under this Policy to Campus Safety.  Campus Safety will work with civil, criminal or College authorities as appropriate.

Retaliatory acts may include, but are not limited to: 1) employment actions affecting salary, promotion, work duties or schedules and/or work locations; 2) actions negatively impacting a student’s academic record or progress; 3) any action affecting the campus environment, including harassment and intimidation.

IX. ADDITIONAL OBLIGATIONS FOR MANDATED REPORTERS 

In addition to the reporting obligations described above, certain individuals are mandated reporters who have additional obligations under New York State Law.  Reporting to Skidmore College alone does not satisfy these reporting obligations.  For information regarding who is a Mandated Reporter - please visit the New York State Office of Children and Family Services website at http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/cps/faqs_mandatedreporter.asp#mandated.

X. ADDRESSING REPORTS AND INVESTIGATIONS 

Upon receipt of a report of abuse of a minor, the Campus Safety Office will begin an internal investigation according to established procedures.  If appropriate, Campus Safety will refer the matter to civil, criminal or College authorities including the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator, who may investigate the matter as outlined within the current Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy.  When civil authorities are conducting a criminal investigation, Campus Safety may defer to that investigative process.

When an allegation of the abuse of a minor is made against a member of the faculty, staff or volunteer, that individual may be placed on administrative leave during an investigation based on a credible complaint.  When an allegation of the abuse of a minor is made against a member of the student body, that individual may be placed on an interim suspension during the investigation based on a credible complaint.  Results of the Campus Safety investigation will be summarized and provided to appropriate College officials for further action as necessary.

When Campus Safety conducts the entire investigation, all records and other materials related to an incident of actual or suspected abuse, including, but not limited to, complaints, statements, investigation reports, records of services provided to those harmed by sexual misconduct, physical evidence and other related material, will be retained at Campus Safety.  Likewise, when an investigation is conducted under the supervision of the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator, all pertinent records will be maintained by that office.  Files maintained on the case are “confidential” and also may contain “privileged” records and/or information.  For example, education records are “confidential.”  To be considered legally “privileged,” records or information must have been obtained through a relationship that the law recognizes as privileged, as for example, an attorney-client relationship, or doctor-patient relationship. “Confidential” records can be disclosed with the consent of the individual(s) to whom they pertain, or as otherwise authorized by law.  However, legally “privileged” records and/or information can only be disclosed if the holder of the privilege waives the privilege.   Records are retained in compliance with federal and state law, currently 7 years.

XI. POLICY ENFORCEMENT 

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 College sanctions applicable to the individual, including suspension, dismissal, termination, and, where appropriate, exclusion from campus.

The College may also take necessary interim actions before determining whether a violation has occurred. Skidmore may terminate relationships or take other appropriate actions against non-College entities that violate this Policy.

XII. Expectation with Respect to Violations of the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct or Anti-Harassment Policies 

The College prohibits its community members from engaging in any conduct that violates the Skidmore College Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct or Anti-Harassment policies, including, but not limited to, domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and verbal/non-verbal harassment. 

Community members are expected to review and familiarize themselves with Skidmore College’s Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct and Anti-Harassment policies.  Unless officially designated as a Confidential Resource, anyone who learns of any information that may be considered a violation of either policy is expected to report the information immediately as each policy directs.

XIII. Third Party Use Of College Facilities 

Third party entities that use College facilities must agree to abide by this Policy, including its requirement that any suspected child abuse or inappropriate conduct be immediately reported to Skidmore’s Campus Safety Department.

Every third-party entity also agrees that:

  1. Its employees, volunteers, subcontractors and agents who will enter College property for purposes related to its program(s) or activity(ies), will conduct, within a 90 day period preceding the commencement of the Program (s) or activity(ies): (i) a general criminal background check against national and New York State databases; (ii) a search of the NY Sex Offender Registry (defined as the file of persons required to register pursuant to Article 6-C of the Correction Law maintained by the NY Division of Criminal Justice Services (“DCJS”)- see http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/nsor/800info_cdsubmit.htm); (iii) submission to DCJS of the names and other information for each such individual sufficient for DCJS to determine if any such individual is a registered sex offender; and (iv) a search of the National Sex Offender Public Registry (defined as the website maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice.  The third-party entity shall review the results of the above records checks and ensure that an individual with findings of abuse, violence, or exploitation will not come on campus under their employ.  Records of the results of these searches will be maintained by third party entity.
  2. It is solely responsible for the supervision of Program Participants. It will maintain continuous supervision of staff and any guests throughout the duration of the Program. User further agrees that for all facets of its program(s), it will adhere to the following minimum staff to minor supervision ratios by age of minor:

    If youngest member of group is Supervision required
    5 years or younger 1 staff for each 6 minors
    6-8 years   1 staff for each 8 minors
    9-14 years  1 staff for each 10 minors
    15-17 years    1 staff for each 12 minors
  1. Additionally, at least 80 percent of the program/activity supervising staff must be 18 years of age or older, and all staff must be at least 16 years of age and at least 2 years older than the minor with whom they are working. Such staff must have training specific to the activity conducted in the program. The overall supervisor of the program must be an adult with certification or documented training and/or experience in the activity conducted in the program.
  2. All its staff will have received training in the identification and reporting of child sexual abuse, and will report any known or suspected abuse of a minor that occurs on Skidmore College property to New York State Child Abuse & Maltreatment Hotline: 800-342-3720 (obtain ID number and representative name) if the minor’s parent or other person who is legally responsible for the child is the suspected abuser; then call Skidmore College Campus Safety: 518-580-5566. 
  3. Any time transportation is provided for participating minors to and from the College, in addition to the driver of the vehicle, there shall be at least one other staff member in the vehicle at all times.
  4. It will secure and maintain, at its sole cost and expense, the following minimum insurance coverages and, where applicable, name Skidmore College, and its officers, employees, agents, and volunteers as additional insureds (ISO Form CG 2010, 11/85 Edition or equivalent, endorsement CG 20 10 04 13 is not acceptable) in its executed contract(s) with Skidmore College, and the College’s successors and/or assigns, indicating that the insurance is primary as respects to all other insurance or self-insurance in force.

    Minimum General Liability Coverage Requirements:
    $1,000,000  Each Occurrence
    $1,000,000  Damage to Premises
    $     10,000  Medical Expense
    $1,000,000  Personal & Advertising Injury
    $2,000,000 General Aggregate
    $1,000,000  Products & Completed Operations Aggregate
    $1,000,000  Tenants Legal Liability
                         Occurrence Form

    Minimum Sexual Abuse and Molestation Insurance Coverage:
    $1,000,000  Claims-made basis

    Minimum Contractual Liability Coverage Requirements
    $1,000,000  Each Occurrence
    Certificate of Insurance must maintain contractual liability endorsement stating that the policy is extended to cover the liability assumed by the insured under the terms of its contract with Skidmore College.

    Minimum Automobile Liability Coverage Requirements (when required):
    $1,000,000  Bodily Injury and Property Damage
    $1,000,000  Hired and Non-Owned Automobile Liability

    Minimum Excess/Umbrella Liability Coverage Requirements:
    $5,000,000  Each Occurrence
    $5,000,000  Aggregate
                          Occurrence Form

    Minimum Workers Compensation/Employers’ Liability Coverage Requirements (when required):
    Statutory Limit    Workers Compensation
    $500,000               Employers Liability – Each Accident
    $500,000               Employers Liability – Disease-Each Employee
    $500,000               Employers Liability – Disease-Policy Limit
  • All Certificates of Insurance must be provided on an Acord 25 Form.
  • Insurance Companies providing coverage must be rated A- VII or better by AM Best.
  • Addition Insured/Hold Harmless: Skidmore College, and its officers, employees, agents, and volunteers are included as additional insureds (ISO Form CG 2010, 11/85 Edition or equivalent) as respects to executed contracts with Skidmore College, its successors and/or assigns. This insurance is primary as respects to all other insurance or self-insurance in force.
  • Cancellation Clause: 30 days’ written notice
  • Certificate of Insurance must be on file with Skidmore College two (2) weeks prior to the event or use of facilities. Please mail to: Skidmore College, Risk Management (or other Department as requested), 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, New York 12866.

XIV. Related Laws 


The Skidmore College Protection of Minors Policy was developed by a subcommittee of the Safety Committee in consultation with the College’s insurance provider and legal counsel, reviewed by the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee (IPPC) 7 February 2017, and endorsed by that body 4 May 2018 and reaffirmed 14 December 2018.  IPPC approved the Policy with the understanding that communication with the community occur during the Fall 2018 semester and implementation of the Policy begin 1 January 2019.