Minors On Campus Policy

Policy number03-01
Responsible officeOffice of Precollege Programming
Enforcement officialOffice of the General Counsel
ClassificationBoard of Trustees Policy
Category03. Academic Affairs

Statement of policy

Institutions of higher learning face increased accountability relating to the safety of minors on campus.  As such, it is the Policy of Western Michigan University that all existing and future University programs and activities involving minors must be developed and administered so as to provide a safe and protective environment for participating minors.

Summary of contents/major changes

No substantive changes.

  1. Purpose of Policy

    The purpose of this Policy is to provide for the safety and holistic well-being of all minors participating in University-sponsored activities or programs (Program) or who participate in programs held on University property, and to promote a safe, ethical, and protective environment for all minors entrusted to the University’s care, custody, and control.

    This Policy sets forth the ways in which University Programs should interact with minors, mandatory training, and mandatory background checks for those WMU employees, students, and volunteers who come in direct contact with minors in these Programs.  Such training includes training on mandatory or permissible child abuse reporting.   


  2. Stakeholders Most Impacted by this Policy

    This Policy applies to all members of the University community (faculty, staff, students) who may work or interact with individuals under 18 years of age who are participating in Programs, regardless of whether on or off campus.

  3. Key Definitions

    1. Authorized Adult or Program Staff: Individuals, paid or unpaid, who interact with, treat, supervise, chaperone, or otherwise oversee Minors in Program activities. This includes but is not limited to faculty, staff, volunteers, graduate and undergraduate students, interns, employees of temporary employment agencies, and independent contractors/consultants. The Authorized Adult or Program Staff roles may include counselors, chaperones, coaches, instructors, health care providers, etc.  This definition does not include temporary guest speakers, presenters, or other individuals who have no direct contact with Program participants other than short-term activities supervised by Program Staff.

    2. One-on-One Interaction: Personal, unsupervised interaction between any Authorized Adult or Program Staff and a participant without at least one other Authorized Adult or Program Staff, participant, parent or legal guardian being present.

    3. Mandated Reporter: As defined in section 722.623 of Michigan’s Child Protection Law, any person in a “professional” role vis a vis a Minor, including but not limited to physician, physician assistant, nurse, person licensed to provide emergency medical care, audiologist, psychologist, counselor, social worker, school administrator, teacher, law enforcement officer, or child care provider.  See http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-722-623.

    4. Minor: A person under 18 years of age (MCL§ 722.1(a)) who is not enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree program at the University.

    5. Program: University Programs in which WMU students, faculty, or staff engage with Minors and during which the parents, legal guardians, or Minor’s school are not responsible for the care, custody, or control of the Minor.  These include, but are not limited to, workshops, services, camps, conferences, campus visits, or similar activities on or off campus.  The term also includes Non-University-Sponsored Programs, such as those sponsored by Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), that serve Minors and that are conducted on University premises.  This term does not include off-campus programs or activities in which one may engage with Minors that are unrelated to one’s status as a member of the University’s faculty, staff, or student body.  

    6. University Facilities: Facilities owned by or under the control of the University, including housing and Program space.

    7. University-Sponsored Programs: Programs that are directly managed by University faculty or staff on behalf of the University. 

    8. Non-University-Sponsored Programs: Programs that are not operated on behalf of the University or under the University’s control.  Except as identified in Section 3.2, RSO-sponsored activities are non-University sponsored programs. 

    9. Public Space:  Areas on campus that are open to the public and which anyone may enter or use without the University’s control, knowledge, or consent. 

  4. Policy

    1. Parent and Participant Requirements

      1. Minors and their parents or legal guardians must submit required forms before participating in Covered Programs. These forms include but are not limited to a participation agreement, health form, emergency contact form, photo and recording release, and participant code of conduct.  This information may be found at http://wmich.edu/precollege/policies.

      2. Programs should develop and inform Participants and their Parent(s) or Legal Guardian(s) as to the rules and disciplinary measures applicable to the Program. The following must be included in each Program’s specific rules:

        1. Participants should not leave WMU-owned and/or controlled property unattended during the Program.  

        2. Programs may not inappropriately use cameras, video recorders, or any type of recording device. No use of any type of recording device will be allowed in showers, locker rooms, rest rooms, residence halls, or other areas where participants may expect privacy.  

    2. Program Requirements

      1. The Office of Pre-College Programming will maintain a registry of authorized Programs. All Programs must register within sufficient time to meet the requirements of this Policy, but no later than 60 days before the Program start date. Programs must update their registration annually. Programs can register at the following website: https://wmich.edu/precollege/program-registration

      2. Program administrators are required to address the following topics in the planning and evaluation of registered Programs:

        1. Selection and screening of Authorized Adult or Program Staff including criminal background checks

        2. Training for Authorized Adult or Program Staff 

        3. Supervision ratio

        4. Safety and security planning 

        5. Participation forms

        6. Transportation

        7. Housing

        8. Program evaluation by faculty/staff, participants, and parents

        9. Risk management plan to minimize risk of harm, injury, or loss

        10. Response protocols when there is an injury or illness

        11. Response protocols when an Authorized Adult or Program Staff is accused of misconduct 

        12. Response protocols when a participant is accused of misconduct

        13. Program orientation or information for Minors and parents

        14. Insurance requirements

        15. Record retention policies

      3. Any contract with a Non-University-Sponsored Program to operate on campus must require the entity to comply with this Policy and demonstrate that it has conducted the required screening and training prior to commencing services.

      4. Ensure Adequate Supervision of Minors  

        1. Program Staff must ensure adequate supervision of Minors in Covered Programs at all times. Every effort will be made to ensure that no Minor is left alone with any adult in a One-on-One Interaction unless it is required for the proper functioning of the Program. In such cases, the Minor’s Parent or Legal Guardian must remain in close proximity or approve of the interaction in writing. 

        2. Below are guidelines for supervision ratios based on the type of program and are recommendations only.  Programs should adjust the ratio of adult-to-students based on the age and behavior level of the participating Minors.

          1. Minors on campus with parent, guardian, or other adult supervision (e.g., classroom teacher) – no special supervision is necessary beyond Program Staff

          2. Minors on campus in day Programs (without parent) – recommended to keep a ratio of at least one teacher/staff for every 15 students.

          3. Minors on campus in overnight Programs: in addition to day Program requirements, Programs must consult with the Office of Residence Life to ensure conformance with security and chaperone Policies for University facilities. See http://wmich.edu/conferences/forms for details.

    3. Emergency Preparedness

      Each Program must develop and document a plan or process for the notification of the Minor’s Parent or Legal Guardian in case of an emergency, which may include medical or behavioral problems, natural disasters, or other significant program disruptions. 

    4. Transportation of Minors
      1. Covered Programs that transport Minors must comply with the following requirements:

      2. Minors may not operate a WMU-owned and/or controlled motor vehicle while they are attending and participating in the Program.

      3. An Authorized Adult or Program Staff who transport Minors must have undergone and passed a Michigan driver records check within the last twelve months.  

      4. If Covered Programs must use private vehicles for transporting Minors, Program must notify the Office of Precollege Programming to determine any additional requirements.  

      5. If Program Staff are transporting Minors, more than one adult or more than one minor must be present in the vehicle for the duration of the transportation.  

    5. Staff Policies
      1. Criminal Background Screening

        1. Prior to working with Minors, all Authorized Adults or Program Staff must submit to an initial criminal background screening, which will be administered and evaluated by the University’s Human Resources office.  If a criminal record history is revealed, Human Resources will evaluate the application consistent with its guidelines.

          1. Section does not apply if a University employee has completed and passed a University background check within the past three years. In that instance, Section applies.

        2. Returning Authorized Adults or Program Staff must submit to a criminal background screening every three years thereafter.  Before using or leasing University facilities, Program Administrators of non-University-Sponsored Programs must certify that they have conducted criminal background checks of their personnel and determined that all Authorized Adults and Program Staff are eligible to work with Minors. 

        3. The following types of convictions will normally render an individual ineligible to work or volunteer at a Covered Program:

          1. Drug distribution activity or felony drug possession;

          2. Sexual offenses;

          3. Crimes of violence involving physical injury to another person;

          4. Child abuse, molestation or other crimes involving child endangerment;

          5. Murder or kidnapping; or

          6. Any other felony or crime involving moral turpitude 

      2. Training
        1. All Authorized Adults or Program Staff working with minors must be trained on policies and issues related to minor health, wellness, safety, and security. This training should be completed annually and may differ based on role.  Program Administrators must maintain documentation of training completion. Training must address the following topics:

          1. Detecting and reporting abuse or neglect;

          2. Participant conduct management and disciplinary procedures;

          3. Authorized Adult or Program Staff code of conduct;

          4. Sexual and other unlawful harassment; 

          5. Clery Act requirements;

          6. Safety and security protocols; and

          7. Mandated reporting 

        2. Additional topics, such as CPR/First Aid and medication management, may be required depending on the particular interaction.  

        3. Campus personnel who train Program Staff must attend a training session given by the Office of Pre-College Programming. You may sign up for training through the registration form (http://wmich.edu/precollege/training).

      3. Program Staff Code of Conduct
        1. Each Program should create and document a formal Code of Conduct for Program Staff.  The Program Director must notify all Program Staff of the expectations within the Code of Conduct. 

        2. Authorized Adults or Program Staff should be positive role models for Minors and act in a caring, honest, respectful, and responsible manner that is consistent with the mission of the University.  Authorized Adults or Program Staff are required to comply with all applicable laws and University policy. 

        3. In addition, Authorized Adults or Program Staff working in Programs covered by this policy may not do any of the following:  

          1. Engage in any sexual activity, make sexual comments, tell sexual jokes, or share sexually explicit material with Minors or assist in any way to provide access to such material to Minors; 

          2. Engage or allow Minors to engage them in romantic or sexual conversations, or related matters, unless required in the role of resident advisors, counselors, or health care providers; 

          3. Touch Minors in a manner that a reasonable person could interpret as inappropriate. If necessary, touching should only be in the open, in response to the Minor's immediate physical needs, for a purpose that is consistent with the Program's mission and culture, or for a clear educational, developmental, or health-related purpose (i.e., treatment of an injury).  Respect and adhere to any resistance from the Minor unless it is a life-threatening emergency; 

          4. Use profanity, vulgarity, harassing language, or language; 

          5. Be alone with a Minor.  Program Staff must follow requirements for One-on-One Interaction as set forth elsewhere in this Policy;  

          6. Meet with Minors outside of established times for Program activities. Any exceptions require written parental authorization and must include more than one Authorized Adult or Program Staff;

          7. Invite individual Minors to your home or other private locations. Any exceptions require authorization by the Program Administrator and the Office of Precollege Programming and written authorization by a parent/guardian;

          8. Provide gifts to Minors or their families independent of items provided by the Program;

          9. Engage or communicate with Minors through email, text messages, social networking websites, phone, internet chat rooms, multiplayer online games, or other forms of social media at any time except in the case of an emergency. Upon request, the Office of Precollege Programming may authorize such communication if there is an educational or Programmatic purpose for the communication and the content of the communication is consistent with the mission of the Program and the University;

          10. Engage in 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 Office of Precollege Programming, the Program Administrator, and the Minor's parent/guardian;

          11. Use, possess, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while on duty or while in the presence of Minors involved in a Program;

          12. Provide alcohol or illegal drugs to a Minor;

          13. Provide medication to a Minor unless authorized by the Program’s medication management guidelines;

          14. Possess or use any type of weapon or explosive device unless authorized in advance by campus law enforcement;

          15. Engage in any other activity that could violate the University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy.

    6. General Reporting Obligations
      1. All members of the University community should act immediately if they experience or witness possible criminal or questionable activity. In such instances, please take one of the following steps: 

        1. Dial 9-1-1 to connect to the police if you require immediate emergency assistance or believe a crime is in progress.

        2. Call the Department of Public Safety at (269) 387-5555 for non-emergency situations.

        3. You may also contact WMU’s Office of Institutional Equity at (269) 387-6316 if you have witnessed or believe there has been sexual abuse or misconduct involving a Minor.

      2. Mandated Reporters and Their Legal Obligations

        1. All non-volunteer Authorized Adults or Program Staff are Mandated Reporters.  (MCL § 722.621, et seq.)

        2. Mandated reporters must immediately report known or suspected mental or physical abuse or neglect of a child made known to them in their professional or official capacity directly to Michigan’s Department of Human Services by calling 855-444-3911 (24/7 toll free number).  You must submit a written report to the Department of Human Services within 72 hours of the initial verbal report. 

        3. Reporters must also inform the Program Director or the Office of Precollege Programming.  If reported to the Program Director, the Program Director must report to the Office of Precollege Programming.  The Office of Precollege Programming, in conjunction with the Office of the General Counsel, will evaluate whether further action is required.  

    7. Exemptions
      1. The following activities are generally exempt from this Policy:

        1. Incidental interaction with Minors in Public Spaces;

        2. Events or performances on campus that are open to the general public (e.g., athletic competitions, plays, concerts);

        3. Services provided by the University Student Health Center, the University Counseling Center, the University Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, or other similar on-campus clinical services during which a Minor is under supervision of a parent/guardian or a clinical provider;  

        4. Undergraduate and graduate academic programs in which minors are enrolled for academic credit (e.g., dual enrollment);

        5. Non-residential field trips to campus supervised by a minor’s school or organization;

        6. Off-campus clinical, practicum, or student teaching experiences in which WMU students interact with Minors as part of the experience and which are supervised by a third party entity;

        7. IRB-supervised research; 

        8. Off-campus events in which RSOs participate with third-party organizations (e.g., Big Brothers/Big Sisters; supervised volunteer work);

        9. Minor employees; or

        10. Private, personal events (e.g., birthday parties, weddings) for which the user has a separate, signed agreement with the University to use space on campus.

      2. The Office of Precollege Programming may, from time to time, designate other exempt Programs in advance and in writing. 

  5. Accountability

    1. If an allegation of inappropriate conduct has been made against an Authorized Adult or Program Staff, the suspected individual shall immediately discontinue any further participation in any Covered Programs until such allegation has been resolved.

    2. Violations of this Policy will subject the violator to appropriate progressive discipline, up to and including termination of employment (for faculty and staff) and dismissal from the University (for students).  

    3. Program participants and staff must abide by all relevant WMU Policies and may be removed from the Covered Program for non-compliance with the Policies.

  6. Related Procedures and Guidelines


  7. Additional Policy Information


  8. FAQs

    1. Question:  What are some examples of Programs that are covered by this Policy?

      A:       Some examples include, but are not limited to:

      • Summer camps
      • Specialty camps such as academic or athletic camps
      • Workshops, conferences, and educational programs
      • Sponsored student organization activities
      • Private music lessons
      • Programs and events involving children that take place in University facilities or on University property
    2. Question:  I'm not involved in any Programs. Does this policy apply to me?

      A:      If you are not involved in any Programs, many of the provisions of the policy will not apply to you. Everyone, however, is expected to: 

      1.       Review the policy; 

      2.       Protect the safety and well-being of minors with whom they may interact; and 

      3.       Report known or suspected abuse or neglect of a minor.

    3. Question:  I'm a student over the age of 18 who is working in a Program as a camp advisor. Does this policy apply to me?  

      A:      Yes.  Unless they fit under one of the exemptions in Section 4.7, all faculty, staff and students who are involved in University Programs, or programs or activities that are held on campus must comply with this Policy.

    4. Question:  Our department sponsors an enrichment camp on campus each summer. We routinely have volunteers from outside the University come in to assist us with the camp as program staff. Will our volunteers be subject to the background check requirements and training required by the policy?

      A:      Yes. The background checks and training requirements are applicable for all authorized adults or program staff, which includes those persons who are volunteers.

    5. Question:  In our Program, we frequently have guest speakers who present information to the youth and interact with them. Will this policy require our guest speakers to go through a background check and training?

      A:      No.  Temporary guest speakers, presenters and other individuals who have no direct contact or only incidental contact with the Program participants other than as short-term activities supervised by program staff do not fall under this Policy. 

    6. Question:  I teach private lessons to Minors in University facilities. Will this policy apply to me?

      A:      Yes.  Anyone teaching private lessons of any kind to minors on University property must comply with this policy. This means that a background check must be on file and the instructor must complete the mandatory annual training.  However, your lessons may be exempt from the requirement that two WMU authorized adults must be present during the instruction if the student is under constant parent or guardian supervision or if the parents or guardians have signed a waiver giving consent for their child to be alone with the adult instructor.  Note, however, that WMU strongly recommends that the child’s parent or guardian be present at all times. 

    7. Question:  I oversee a laboratory on campus and we occasionally have visitors from local schools as part of informal, educational interactions.  Does this Policy apply to me?

      A:      It depends.  If the minors are accompanied by their primary or secondary school teachers, you do not need to follow the requirements of this Policy.  However, if the student will be on campus without parental or school supervision, you must follow this Policy.  Laboratories will establish their own guidelines and procedures for specifics of how these situations will be handled.  If you are unsure into which category you fit, please contact the Office of Precollege Programming. 

    8. Question:  When might I need to make a report under the Minors on Campus Policy?

      A:      If you are participating in a Program and you know or have reason to suspect that a minor has been subject to abuse or neglect or is otherwise unsafe, you must make a report.

    9. Question:  What if I'm not sure whether a minor I'm working with has been abused or neglected?

      A:      If you have any suspicion that a child has been abused or neglected, report it. Even when you have doubts, it is better to report your suspicions than to ignore them. Michigan law protects you from liability if your report ends up being incorrect as long as you have a “good faith” belief that what you are reporting is true.  Neither Michigan law nor University policy allows you to delegate the duty to report child abuse or neglect.  

    10. Question:  How do I make a report to the University?

      A:      See Section 4.6 of this Policy for instructions on how to make a report. 

    11. Question:  Am I required to take training to participate in a Program?

      A:      Yes.  See Section 4.6 of this Policy.

    12. Question:  Our group is not affiliated with the University. However, we are using the University facilities for a summer youth camp.  Do I have to follow this Policy?  

      A:      Yes.  All programs that take place on University property and that involve minors must comply with the Minors on Campus policy, including, but not limited to, its training requirements. 

    13. Question:  Who is required to have a criminal background check?

      A:      All authorized adults/program staff, as defined by this Policy, are required to complete a criminal background check.  However, background checks are not required for temporary guest speakers, presenters or other individuals who have no direct contact or only incidental contact with Program participants other than through short-term activities supervised by program staff.

    14. Question:  We are an outside group not affiliated with the University that wants to hold a retreat on campus this summer. What are we required to do in order to do so?

      A:      Non-University organizations that wish to operate programs or activities involving minors on campus must comply with the University’s Minors on Campus Policy, including requirements relating to reporting suspected abuse or neglect of minors, completing all relevant training, and background checks.  Please contact the Office for Precollege Programming at (269) 387-2773 for direction and assistance.

    15. Question:  My Program has unique circumstances, and I am not sure how to comply with the Policy. What should I do? 

      A:      Contact the Office of Pre-College Programming at (269) 387-2773.  

    16. Question:  Does this policy apply to hybrid and online programs?

      A:      Yes. Except for the portions of this policy explicitly referring to in-person interactions, the remainder of this policy applies to hybrid and online programs.


Effective date of current versionJanuary 3, 2022
Date first adoptedApril 18, 2013
Revision history
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 11:05 Revised
Proposed date of next reviewJanuary 1, 2025


Certified by

Kahler B. Schuemann

At the direction of

Board of Trustees