Minors in Duke University Programs

Purpose and Scope of Policy

This statement sets forth Duke University's policy regarding children under the age of 18 (Minors) who participate in activities and programs, taking place on university land and in facilities or under the authority and direction of the university at other locations. The university expects all members of the university community to adhere to and act in accordance with this policy. Failure to comply with the requirements set forth in this policy may lead to disciplinary action and or revocation of the opportunity to use university facilities and land.

This policy affects all units of the university. Athletic camps, academic camps, Duke Talent Identification Program, other programs, and similar activities intended for Minors (Programs) are within the scope of this policy, whether they are limited to daily activities or involve the housing of Minors in residence halls.

This policy does not apply to enrolled Duke students who are Minors. Likewise, different policies apply to Minors who are employed or serve as interns in laboratories under the direction of a dean or director or Minors employed at Duke in any capacity. Patient care-related activities pertaining to Minors in Duke University Health System or Duke patient related settings are addressed in relevant health care policies.

Application of this Policy

The following requirements govern participation in Programs covered by this policy:

Register the Program

The person in charge of the Program or a designee (Program Director) shall register the Program with Corporate Risk Management within sufficient time to meet the requirements of this policy.

Execute Appropriate Written Contract(s)

In all covered Programs, the parent/guardian and Minor shall execute a university Participation Agreement.

Third party sponsors shall execute a Conference Services Agreement when using university facilities, including but not limited to housing, dining or DukeCard services, for Minors participating in a covered Program.

For those covered Programs that do not require the use of housing, dining or DukeCard services, third-party sponsors shall execute a Facilities Use Agreement.

The Program Director may contact Conference Services for a copy(ies) of the agreement(s) appropriate for the covered Program.

Conduct Background Checks

The Program Director, whether the Program is sponsored by the university or a private concern, will be required to conduct a criminal background check on all adults, including but not limited to faculty, staff, students, and volunteers, who work with, instruct or otherwise come into contact with Minors. These criminal background checks will be conducted by an agency selected and approved by Human Resources. If a criminal record history is revealed, the Program Director will refer the application to Human Resources for evaluation.

Background checks must be completed and evaluated prior to the adult beginning work with Minors. The Program Director will be required to conduct criminal background checks on returning adults at least every four (4) years.

Require Training

In recognition of the imperative of protecting Minors, Duke University requires that all adults working with Minors be trained regarding policies and issues relating to interactions with Minors. This training shall be completed annually before an adult begins working with Minors. Adult training shall be documented, with the adult signing a statement indicating his/her understanding and receipt of Duke University policies and procedures.

This training shall include:

  • Duke University policies regarding interactions with Minors;
  • Use of background checks to screen adults working with Minors;
  • Responsibility for modeling respectful behaviors;
  • Consequences of conduct violations involving Minors;
  • Behavioral signs that Minor victims may exhibit;
  • Sexual abuse and sexual harassment;
  • Laboratory safety for Minors;
  • Inappropriate behavior with children;
  • Other appropriate topics; and
  • Reporting requirements and procedures.
Establish Behavioral Expectations

Adults should be positive role models for Minors, and act in a caring, honest, respectful and responsible manner that is consistent with the mission and guiding principles of the university. Adults working in Programs covered by this policy must follow these expectations to avoid behaviors that could cause harm or be misinterpreted:

  • Do not engage in any sexual activity, make sexual comments, tell sexual jokes, or share sexually explicit material (or assist in any way to provide access to such material) with Minors.
  • Do not be alone with a single Minor. If one-on-one interaction is required, meet in open, well illuminated spaces or rooms with windows observable by other adults from the Program, unless the one-on-one interaction is expressly authorized by the Program Director, dean, department chair person or is being undertaken by a health care provider.
  • Do not meet with Minors outside of established times for Program activities. Any exceptions require written parental authorization and must include more than one adult from the Program.
  • Do not invite individual Minors to your home. Any exceptions require authorization by the Program Director and written authorization by a parent/guardian.
  • Do not engage or allow Minors to engage you in romantic or sexual conversations, or related matters, unless required in the role of resident advisors, counselors, or health care providers.
  • Do not engage or communicate with Minors through email, text messages, social networking websites, internet chat rooms, or other forms of social media at any time except and unless there is an educational or programmatic purpose and the content of the communication is consistent with the mission of the Program and the university.
  • Do not touch Minors in a manner that a reasonable person could interpret as inappropriate. Touching should generally only be in the open and in response to the Minor's needs, for a purpose that is consistent with the Program's mission and culture, and/or for a clear educational, developmental, or health related (i.e., treatment of an injury) purpose. Any resistance from the Minor should be respected.
  • Do not engage in any abusive conduct of any kind toward, or in the presence of, a Minor, including but not limited to verbal abuse, striking, hitting, punching, poking, spanking, or restraining. If restraint is necessary to protect a Minor or other Minors from harm, all incidents must be documented and disclosed to the Program Director and the Minor's parent/guardian.
  • Do not use, possess or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while on duty or when responsible for a Minor's welfare.
  • When transporting Minors in a Program, more than one adult from the Program must be present in the vehicle, except when multiple Minors will be in the vehicle at all times through the transportation. Avoid using personal vehicles if possible.
  • Possession of or use of any type of weapon or explosive device is prohibited.
Report Allegation(s) of Inappropriate Behavior

"If you see something, say something". Every member of the university community (Member) has an obligation to report immediately instances or suspected instances of the abuse of or inappropriate interactions with Minors to Duke University Police and to the Program Director. This includes information about suspected abuse, neglect, or inadequate care provided by a parent, guardian, or custodian/caretaker. Every Member has a further obligation under North Carolina law to make a report to the director of the department of social services in the county where the Minor resides or is found. Duke University Police can assist in providing contact information for reporting to social service agencies. Members making a report in good faith will be protected from criminal and civil liability for making the report. Further, it is the policy of the university that no Member making a good faith report of suspected abuse or neglect will be retaliated against in the terms and conditions of employment or educational program.

Approved by Senior Leadership, April 2012