U-M establishes new guidelines for programs involving children


The university is furthering its commitment to safety of children on all campuses by establishing a centralized policy to ensure the health, wellness, safety and security of minors who interact with the university.

Under provisions of the new Standard Practice Guide Section 601.34, “Policy on Minors Involved in University Sponsored Programs or Programs Held in University Facilities,” all university-sponsored programs and non-university programs using U-M facilities involving minors must comply with the following guidelines:

more information
  • Questions about the new SPG can be directed to Kathleen Rychlinski, assistant director, Risk Management Services at  kmrychli@umich.edu.

• Participate in program registration.

• Follow the established code of conduct.

• Submit to criminal background screening of all staff or volunteers.

• Use university-provided templates for participant forms.

• Agree to have staff and volunteers complete required training.

• Adhere to all reporting obligations.

The policy goes into effect Monday, with program implementation occurring over the next several months.

The new policy applies to all administrators, health care providers, faculty, staff, students and volunteers involved with minors on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn or Flint campuses, including the U-M Health System and U-M Athletics.

“We welcome children to our campuses and want them to have a fun and positive experience,” says the executive sponsor, Timothy P. Slottow, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

“The new policy builds on the good work that already occurs and the commitment that our faculty and staff have to provide the best possible experiences for children.”

In December 2011, a steering committee was assembled by President Mary Sue Coleman to research and evaluate existing practices, policies and procedures for programs involving children.

“We conducted a thorough evaluation of what already was in place at the unit level, and engaged dozens of faculty and staff who administer programs for children on a daily basis,” says Donica Thomas Varner, associate general counsel and co-chair of the steering committee for the policy. Kelly Cunningham, director of the Office of Public Affairs, co-chaired the steering committee with Varner.

After months of research, including scores of group and one-on-one interviews, the committee identified nearly 170 programs involving minors.

“Through talking with staff and faculty, we learned that thousands of children visit the Ann Arbor campus each year through a variety of programs from academic, athletic and patient camps; outreach and pipeline activities; tutoring; and even theatrical performances,” adds Cunningham. Similar programs occur on the Dearborn and Flint campuses.

In addition to the creation of the SPG, program registry websites are being developed for each campus and the health system. The websites will serve as a resource for managing programs involving minors. The registries will be available this summer for 2015 programs.

The new policy applies to all university-sponsored programs; programs taking place on a U-M campus; and programs under the direction and authority of the university at off-campus locations.

“We are serious about protecting the health and safety of children on our campuses,” Varner says.

“We have excellent resources and solid processes and procedures in place to support this commitment, and each member of our community has a responsibility to support this goal.”


Leave a comment

Commenting is closed for this article. Please read our comment guidelines for more information.