University adds policy for minors

The university recently updated its policies to protect minors on campus from abuse and created a series of awareness programs, The Office of Equity and Diversity announced to all students via email Tuesday.

The new policies collectively formalize procedures on how to react to and prevent child abuse. They detail the reporting process for allegations of child abuse or neglect, as well as the involvement of federal Child Services and law enforcement.

The university also expanded its criminal background check policy so that those who have been convicted of a crime involving a minor are subject to further scrutiny.

“The university is firmly committed to protecting the safety and well-being of minors in its care and on our campuses, such as patients, volunteer subjects of research, sports camp attendees and the children in our daycare and community outreach programs,” Senior Vice President of Administration Todd Dickey said in a statement.

The new “Protecting Minors on Campus” policy says those under the age of 18 must not be left alone on campus, resident students may not babysit minors (including relatives) in their rooms, minors may not accompany students to class, minors must be monitored if they go to work with their parent or guardian and employees should not take sick children with them to work, rather administrators should be lenient in excusing missed days caused by sick children.

Previously, all USC employees were informed that they must report suspicions of child abuse or neglect during their mandatory sexual harassment seminars, which occurred every two years in compliance with state law. The new policy is meant to make those practices official university procedure, according to Dickey.

“Our most recent efforts reflect this commitment by aiming to clarify several policies and practices; many of which were already in place but had not been formalized,” Dickey said. “We believe this will lead to even greater protections for minors across both campuses.”

The Office of Equity and Diversity also urged members of the USC community to watch a series of new educational videos related to protecting minors on campus.

“As members of the Trojan Family, it is our responsibility to work together to promote a campus that is safe and secure for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors of any age,” the Office of Equity and Diversity said.