The University of Alabama, Division of Finance and Operations

Youth Protection Policy for UA Sponsored Programs

Unit:  Compliance, Ethics, and Regulatory Affairs
Contact: Dr. Marcy Huey
Title:  Executive Director for Institutional Compliance
Effective Date: 9/1/2017
Revision Date: 01/21/2022


 
 

Purpose

The University of Alabama (“the University” or “UA”) is committed to providing a safe and welcoming experience for minors. Faculty, staff, students, student employees, graduate assistants, contractors, and volunteers are therefore expected to hold themselves to the highest standards of conduct when interacting with minors. This policy establishes requirements for those in the University community who work with any activities or programs that include minors (“Youth Programs”). 

Policy

For purposes of this policy, a “minor” is either:
  1. Any person under 18 years of age.
  2. Any person under the age of 19 years who is in need of protective services and does not qualify for adult protective services under Chapter 9 of Title 38 in Alabama law.
This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, student employees, graduate assistants, contractors, and volunteers working in Youth Programs sponsored by UA. The purpose of this policy is to promote the safety and welfare of minors who participate in Youth Programs, including such activities as camps, conferences, research and outreach activities, among others. In addition to the requirements of this policy, faculty, staff, students, student employees, graduate assistants, contractors, and volunteers must adhere to applicable law and other applicable University policies.

Except for the exclusions listed in this policy, all Youth Programs are within the scope of this policy. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Activities or programs that include minors on campus or in University facilities, including, but not limited to, overnight programs, instructional programs, day camps, academic activities, and sports
  • Activities or programs that the University operates that include minors but that do not take place on campus, including, but not limited to, outreach and community service
  • Faculty or staff who bring minors to campus as interns or volunteers outside of a structured activity or program that includes minors (e.g., to intern in a laboratory, job shadowing, etc.). This could also include auditions, lessons, tutoring, or tours where the parent or guardian is not present.
  • Student organizations or any other University-affiliated organization operating, facilitating, or sponsoring activities or programs that include minors.
  • All programs offered virtually, regardless of the presence or absence of parents, guardians, teachers, or coaches.
This policy does not apply to:
  • Undergraduate and graduate academic programs involving a minor participant who is enrolled or who has been accepted for enrollment as a student at the University.
  • Properly registered recruiting events sponsored by a University recognized student organization that may be attended by minors who are enrolled or have been accepted for enrollment as a student at the University.
  • Events on campus open to the general public that minors may also attend (e.g., sporting events, theatre performances, etc.).
  • Events or programs offered by University personnel in which the minor is accompanied by a parent, guardian, teacher, or coach at all times. (This exception does not apply to virtual programs.)
  • Research programs involving minors which are approved by the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB).
  • Medical care given to minors in an in-patient or out-patient setting in the University Medical Center or other University patient-care setting.
  • Normal operations of licensed childcare facilities or programs. These facilities or programs are expected to comply with all applicable laws and regulations and are outside the scope of this policy. However, separate camps, programs, or activities sponsored by these facilities could be subject to this policy.
Adjustments to registration requirements may be made at the discretion of the Office of Compliance, Ethics, and Regulatory Affairs (CERA) (205-348-2334; youthprotection@ua.edu), in discussion with appropriate leadership. All areas/programs are still subject to all other relevant UA policies and procedures, including the UA Child Abuse Reporting Policy and Procedures. 

Any University personnel planning a program or activity that involves minors or may involve minors in any capacity must contact CERA (205-348-2334; youthprotection@ua.edu) for review and assessment of specific program requirements. Aside from the limited exceptions noted herein, all Youth Programs will be subject to this policy and to the more detailed instructions outlined in the Guide for Activities or Programs with Minor Participants (Guide). Programs offered by external parties using UA facilities or grounds will be expected to comply with the Youth Protection Policy for External Entities/Third-party Programs. All program staff must abide by the requirements outlined in this policy and in the Guide when working in Youth Programs and are expected to comply with all relevant policies and directives to the satisfaction of the University. Any behavior or contact between program staff and program participants that violate approved program activities, established law, UA’s Child Abuse Reporting Policy and Procedures, or other relevant UA policies is prohibited.
  1. Parents or guardians should not leave minors unsupervised on University property unless the minor is engaged in a properly constituted Youth Program, as outlined herein and in the Guide.
  2. All organizers for Youth Programs must submit a registration form and all requested documentation to CERA (205-348-2334; youthprotection@ua.edu) pursuant to the detailed process outlined in the Guide. Program registration must be submitted and approved before beginning to advertise or accept participant registrations, and no less than 8 weeks in advance of the program start date. Detailed information on required documentation is available in the Guide and on the Youth Protection webpage. Failure to comply with this policy or the requirements of the Guide may result in the activity or program being denied approval. 
  3. CERA provides a participation registration platform called Ryzer for use by programs sponsored by UA departments. All UA Sponsored Youth Programs are required to use Ryzer for registration of program participants. Any exceptions related to the use of this approved participant registration system should be requested upon program registration.
  4. Those working in Youth Programs who witness child abuse or neglect, or have information that would lead a reasonable person to believe a minor has recently encountered or has in the past encountered a substantial threat of such abuse or neglect, must follow reporting procedures established in the UA Child Abuse Reporting Policy and Procedures. Any person who makes a good faith report of child abuse or neglect shall not be subjected to retaliation. Further, any person or entity that makes a good faith report of child abuse or neglect is immune under Alabama law from any liability—civil or criminal—that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.
  5. Any non-criminal incidents either between adult and minor or between minors should be reported to CERA. These incidents can include bullying, sexual relationships between minors, self-harm, and harassment or discrimination. 
  6. Individuals working in activities or programs for and including minors must successfully complete required background checks and training before working in such activities or programs. Detailed information on required background checks and training is available in the Guide. All background checks and training should be completed at least one week before the start date of the program.
  7. Youth Programs may be subject to announced or unannounced site visits coordinated by CERA. Any suspected violation of approved program guidelines or University policy will be subject to investigation by the appropriate University officials. Colleges, units, and individuals must cooperate with investigations should they occur.
  8. Compliance with the policy and the Guide is required as a condition of operating programs or activities involving minors at UA. Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy or the requirements further outlined in the Guide may result in the loss of current or future program privileges and other sanctions at The University of Alabama.
  9. Individuals working with minors should not be alone with minors. If an activity requires any type of one-to-one interaction (tutoring, private lessons, interviews, etc.) these interactions must take place in a location that is open, observable, and interruptible. Programs that anticipate these types of interactions must provide a description of the activity and plans for mitigating risk.
  10. No Youth Programs sponsored by, advertising, or recruiting for another college or university will be permitted on the UA campus without special approval. Approval can be requested utilizing the Contract Request Form.
The application and requirements of this policy may be amended as they apply to a particular event in order to further the University’s mission, as may be determined on a case-by-case basis in consultation with appropriate University leadership.

Definitions

  • Activities or programs that include minors: Any (1) event, operation, or endeavor operated, conducted, or organized by any unit or organization supported by or affiliated with the University or occurring on University property, (2) that includes minors, and (3) during which parents, guardians, teachers, or coaches are not expected to be responsible for the care, custody, or control of the minors. These include third-party activities or programs (defined below).
  • Minor:  For the purposes of this Policy, a “minor” is either:
    • Any person under 18 years of age.
    • Any person under the age of 19 years who is in need of protective services and does not qualify for adult protective services under Chapter 9 of Title 38 in Alabama law.
  • Program Director: A program director is the individual on-site who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the activity or program and who oversees program staff.
  • Program Participant: A program participant is a minor attending a program or activity affiliated with the University.
  • Program Staff: Program staff consists of both paid and unpaid individuals who have direct contact with activity or program participants. This may be faculty, staff, students, student employees, graduate assistants, contractors, or volunteers. Program staff are responsible for planning, teaching, coordinating, and carrying out activities and the supervision of participants in the activities or programs.
  • The Guide: The University of Alabama Guide for Activities or Programs with Minor Participants.
  • UA Program Contact: This individual represents the department, college, or student organization responsible for the direction or operation of the activities or programs.
  • Volunteer: Any individual working in an unpaid capacity in an activity or program that includes minors.

Scope

This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, student employees, graduate assistants, contractors, and volunteers working in activities or programs for and that includes minors.
 
 

Office of the Vice President of Finance and Operations

Approved by Cheryl Mowdy, Assistant Vice President for Finance and Operations, 01/21/2022