Safety of Minors

The University of Minnesota is committed to providing a safe environment for teaching, learning, and community outreach. That commitment includes the safety of minors who come to campus or other facilities and participate in University-sponsored programs.

The University of Minnesota adopted the Safety of Minors policy to reaffirm its commitment to provide a safe environment for children. All University employees should understand their responsibilities to protect minors on our campus or in University-sponsored programs.

Minors Covered Under This Policy

The Safety of Minors policy is meant to protect anyone under the age of 18 who is:

  • Participating in University-sponsored programs held on or off University property
  • Enrolled in academic programs at the University
  • Participating in programs operated by non-University organizations on University property

Responsibilities of All University Employees

All of us at the University, no matter what role we have or what work we do, have a responsibility to protect the safety of minors in University programs and on its campuses. The University's policy states that all faculty, staff, student workers, and volunteers are required to report any suspected case of abuse or neglect of a minor.

An employee's first report should be to law enforcement—such as the University of Minnesota Police Department, the Minneapolis Police Department, or the Sheriff's Department—even before reporting to a University supervisor. If a child could be in immediate danger, call 911 right away. If the child is not in immediate danger, notify law enforcement as soon as possible but within 24 hours.

How to Report

An employee should call any one of the following law enforcement agencies, any other police or sheriff's department, or an appropriate social service agency:

If a child is or may be in immediate danger:

  • Dial 911 at once.

If a child is not in immediate danger:

  • Twin Cities: Campus Police Department—612-624-COPS (2677); Minneapolis Police Department—311 or the Tip Line: 612-692-TIPS (8477); St. Paul Police Department—651-291-1111
  • Crookston: Crookston Police Department—218-281-3111
  • Duluth: Campus Police Department—218.726.7000
  • Morris: Campus Police Department—320-287-1601
  • Rochester: Rochester Police Department—507-328-6800

What Should Be Reported

Suspected cases of child abuse or neglect that must be reported include:

Physical abuse: Any physical injury or threat of substantial injury, other than by accident. (It does not include reasonable and moderate physical discipline of a child that does not result in an injury.)

Sexual abuse: A criminal sexual act or threatened act against a child.

Neglect: The failure of the child's caregiver to:

  • Supply necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical or mental health care, or appropriate supervision
  • Protect the child from conditions or actions that endanger the child
  • Ensure that a child is educated according to the law

Mental injury: Harm to the child's psychological or emotional stability to an extent that substantially impairs the child's functioning.

Awareness and vigilance by all employees, regardless of their roles or job duties, will ensure that the University continues to be a safe and enriching environment for young people.

For more information on identifying and reporting child neglect and abuse, see Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: A Resource Guide for Mandated Reporters, from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Back to top

Requirements for University Programs That Involve Minors

Under the University of Minnesota's revised Safety of Minors policy, all University employees have the responsibility to protect minors and must report any suspected child abuse or neglect (see Responsibilities of All University Employees, above). In addition, programs that involve minors must meet four other requirements. (To find out which of the requirements below apply to your program, check this Requirements Grid.)
 

1. Programs and events must be registered with the University.

Program leaders whose unit (campus, college, or department) is sponsoring an event that includes minors are required to register the event or group prior to the start of the event. The purpose of registration is to confirm that each program has addressed safety of minors in its planning and complied with the requirements of this policy. For units that regularly conduct programs for minors on or off University property (child care centers, annual summer camp programs, etc.), a single annual filing is sufficient.

Each campus is responsible for posting information about its programs on the web and for providing a link to the University-wide program website, Youth at the U. Registered programs will be listed on this site so they are accessible to youth, families, and educators. Program leaders must verify the information at least annually to ensure that all their programs are listed and that the information is current.

To register a University program or event:  Visit the Youth at the U web page. For questions, call or email your campus's Safety of Minors contact: 
       Twin Cities: Julie Sweitzer, sweit001@umn.edu, 612-625-5324
       Crookston: Gary Wilhite, gwillhit@crk.umn.edu, 218-281-8530
       Duluth: Jason Ellis, jellis2@d.umn.edu, 218-726-2614
       Morris: Sandy Olson-Loy, olsonloy@morris.umn.edu, 320-589-6013
       Rochester: Gail Sauter, saute008@umn.edu, 507-258-8009
 

2. Staff and volunteers who interact with minors unaccompanied by other adults must pass a background check.

To find out if your program must meet this requirement, see the Program Requirements Grid.

To find out which staff members and volunteers must have background checks, and for more details, see the Safety of Minors Policy.

To request a background check: Contact OHR at 4-UOHR (612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363) and request a Standard Background Check. A 4-UOHR staff member will explain the process in more detail.

For more information about background checks, see Conducting Background Checks and Verifications.
 

3. Staff and volunteers required to take a background check must also complete an online training course.

University employees who are required to take the 15-minute online training can enroll on the Safety of Minors training website. The training is offered through ULearn, the University's learning management system that allows for administration, tracking, and reporting of training content. All University employees are automatically enrolled in ULearn. 

Non-employees can also take the ULearn Safety of Minors training with a one-time registration. Or non-employees can take the Safety of Minors training without registering on ULearn.

Program staff are required to complete online training every three years.
 

4. Programs must comply with specific health and safety requirements.

To find out if your program must meet this requirement, see the Program Requirements Grid.

To find out the specific requirements, view the Health and Safety Requirements for Programs Involving Minors.

Back to top

Requirements for Non-University Organizations

Many non-University organizations operate programs and activities involving minors on our campuses and our facilities. The University expects these organizations to meet our standards regarding background checks and education. To help ensure organizations operating on University property meet these expectations, standard contracts include provisions that they certify that their staff have completed background checks and education.

Non-University program directors and staff should review the Safety of Minors Policy. Program staff and volunteers who are not University employees can take the ULearn Safety of Minors training with a one-time registration. Or non-employees can take the Safety of Minors training without registering on ULearn.

 

More information

For questions about Safety of Minors policies or requirements for your program, call or email your campus's Safety of Minors contact: 
       Twin Cities: Julie Sweitzer, sweit001@umn.edu, 612-625-5324
       Crookston: Gary Wilhite, gwillhit@crk.umn.edu, 218-281-8530
       Duluth: Jason Ellis, jellis2@d.umn.edu, 218-726-6214
       Morris: Sandy Olson-Loy, olsonloy@morris.umn.edu, 320-589-6013
       Rochester: Gail Sauter, saute008@umn.edu, 507-258-8009

 

Important links

Safety of Minors Policy
Youth at the U (to register a youth program, or to see a University-wide list of programs) 
Health and Safety Requirements for Programs Involving Minors (appendix to the Safety of Minors policy)
Program Requirements Grid (to find out which requirements apply to your program)
Conducting Background Checks and Verifications
Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: A Resource Guide for Mandated Reporters (Minnesota Department of Human Services)
 

Back to top