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Index > Operations Policies > Protection of Minors in RISD Programs

Protection of Minors in RISD Programs

Purpose

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has a variety of events, activities and programs that involve minors. The safety of minors involved in RISD programs is of the utmost importance to the college and in order to provide a safe, fun and productive environment, the guidelines below have been established. This policy is meant to serve as guidance for these valuable experiences, whether they are sponsored by RISD or a third party. It is important to note that department-specific procedures exist for all programs and are in accordance with this policy. For procedural questions, please contact the appropriate department

Scope

Every member of the college community has an obligation to immediately report instances or suspected instances of the abuse of or inappropriate interactions with minors. Staff, faculty, volunteers, student employees and independent contractors who may have interaction with minors on campus are governed by this policy.

Policy Statement

RISD is dedicated to the welfare and safety of all persons who participate in college-sponsored events.Most of the minors on our campus take part in programs through the RISD Museum, Continuing Education and Project Open Door; however, there are also opportunities for third parties to run programs with minor participants on our campus. Because minors are a particularly vulnerable population, the college takes extra precautions to protect those who participate in activities, programs and camps on our campus and under the authority and direction of the college at other locations. This reporting obligation includes information about suspected abuse, neglect, or inadequate care provided by a parent, guardian, or custodian/caretaker.

Definitions

Adult – this includes all persons working or volunteering at, or acting on behalf of, or as a representative of RISD, including without limitation: staff, faculty, student employees, temporary employees, casual employees, volunteers, docents and vendors.

Minor – all persons under the age of 18 who are involved in RISD programs but are not enrolled in a degree program at RISD, or employed by the College.

Program Director – anyone in a supervisory role associated with the activity offered by an academic or administrative unit of the college.

Title IX -- the Education Amendments of 1972 protect individuals from sex discrimination in educational programs and activities at institutions that receive federal financial assistance.

Policy

Any known or suspected case of abuse or neglect of a minor must be reported. Any incident of a RISD community member (working, studying or volunteering at RISD) violating this policy, committing sexual harassment or engaging in sexual activity with a minor must be reported to your supervisor immediately; the supervisor is then required to report it to Human Resources within 24 hours. (Note: employees may bring the report directly to Human Resources; any complaints towards student will go to their department head instead of Human Resources.)

Failure to Report

Failure, by any employee, to notify their supervisor or report directly to HR or Public Safety is considered a violation of this policy and is subject to reprimand or other disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, termination of employment.

Reporting Procedure Regarding a RISD community member

These complaints can be reported verbally to a supervisor or Human Resources, but a “Protection of Minors Reporting Form” must also be completed and submitted to them for record and review. This form will be shared with the Title IX Office and Risk Manager. RISD will conduct an inquiry, as appropriate under the circumstances. Any known or suspected cases of abuse or neglect by a minor’s caregiver must also be immediately reported to your supervisor who is required to report it to Public Safety within 24 hours. Public Safety will ensure that DCYF is notified. (Note: employees may call DCYF directly, however, they must still notify Public Safety.)

Reporting Procedure for any Incident Involving a Caregiver

These complaints can be reported verbally, but a “Protection of Minors Reporting Form” must also be completed and submitted to Public Safety for record and review. This form will be shared with the Title IX Office and Risk Manager. RISD will conduct an inquiry, as appropriate under the circumstances and all instances will be reported to DCYF.

Retaliation

It is the policy of the college that retaliation against anyone making a good faith report of suspected abuse or neglect is strictly prohibited.

Anonymous Reporting

To report an instance anonymously you can go to RISD’s Whistleblower Hotline or you can call the hotline at 866-877-5386. Please also refer to RISD’s Whistleblower Policy for additional information.

Behavioral Expectations

Adults should be positive role models for minors, acting in a caring, honest, respectful and responsible manner that is consistent with the mission and guiding principles of the college. Adults must follow these expectations to avoid behaviors that could cause harm or be misinterpreted:

  • Do not engage in any sexual activity, make sexual comments, tell sexual jokes, or share sexually prurient material (or assist in any way to provide access to such material) with minors. This does not include material or discussion that is appropriately related to course subject matter or curriculum, and this policy shall not abridge academic freedom or RISD's educational mission.
  • Adults should not be alone with a single minor. If there is a situation that requires confidentiality, one-on-one interactions should be conducted in an observable space.
  • Do not meet with minors outside of established times for program activities or employment responsibilities. Any exceptions require written parental authorization and must include more than one adult from the College.
  • Do not invite individual minors to your home. Any exceptions require authorization by the program director and written authorization by a parent/guardian.
  • Do not engage minors or allow minors to engage you in sexual conversations, or conversations about personal romantic or sexual issues or situations, unless required in the professional staff member’s role.
  • Do not engage or communicate with minors through email, text messages, social networking websites, internet chat rooms, or other forms of social media at any time except and unless there is an educational or programmatic purpose and the content of the communication is consistent with the mission of the program and the college such as administrative information (i.e. housing assignments and move in information).
  • Do not touch minors in a manner that a reasonable person could interpret as inappropriate.
  • Do not engage in any abusive conduct of any kind toward, or in the presence of, a minor, including but not limited to verbal abuse, striking, hitting, punching, poking or spanking. Restraint is acceptable only if, and only to the extent that is necessary to protect a minor or other minor(s) from harm, and such incidents must be documented and disclosed to Public Safety.
  • Do not use, possess or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while on duty or when responsible for a minor's welfare.
  • Possession of or use of any type of weapon or explosive device is prohibited.
  • All minors visiting or studying at RISD should have a completed medical release form. Some programs will require this form on file prior to enrollment.

Extenuating Circumstances

  • Any minor visiting or studying at RISD who is not picked up at the appropriate time should be brought to Public Safety where they will await pick up by a parent/guardian.
  • Children in the workplace must always be under the direct supervision of their parent or guardian.

You can find more information on RISD’s Children in the Workplace Policy.

Procedures

Background Checks

A background check will be completed on all employees, student employees and volunteers in positions with the possibility of care, supervision, guidance or control of minors. Click here for more information on RISD’s background screening policy.

Reporting Allegations of Sexual Misconduct

RISD has appointed a Title IX Coordinator (Title IX Coordinator Contact Information here), two Deputy Coordinators and an investigator to resolve complaints and address issues of gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct. Their responsibilities include tracking and monitoring incidents, including sex discrimination and sexual misconduct; seeing that RISD responds effectively to each complaint; and, where appropriate, conducting investigations of particular situations. The Title IX support staff is knowledgeable about, and will provide information on all options for complaint resolution. Together, they play an integral role in carrying out RISD’s commitment to provide a positive learning, teaching, and working environment for the entire community.

When should I contact Title IX support staff?

Contact Title IX if you:

  • think you may have encountered sex discrimination or sexual misconduct and wish to understand your options
  • learn of a situation that you feel may warrant a college investigation
  • need help on how to handle a situation by which you are indirectly affected
  • seek guidance on possible informal remedies or administrative measures to de-escalate or alleviate a difficult situation
  • have any other questions about RISD’s Title IX policies and procedures.

Support staff can also facilitate a formal or informal complaint through Public Safety, located at 30 Waterman Street.

Confidentiality and Process

Conversations with Title IX staff are kept as confidential as possible, but information about incidents of sexual misconduct must be shared with relevant administrators if the college needs to act for reasons of broader campus safety. In all cases, the wishes of the person initiating the conversation are given full consideration. The investigation process involves interviewing the parties involved and any witnesses and also gathering documentary or other evidence. In cases involving alleged criminal conduct, Public Safety will assist a complainant in making a criminal complaint if he/she wishes, and any criminal complaint will be forwarded to the local Police Department. A complainant need not pursue a criminal complaint in order to seek to hold the respondent responsible through the Code of Student Conduct or Employment process. As soon as possible, the complainant and the accused will be offered appropriate assistance from one or more of the following areas: Counseling Center, Day One (off campus advocacy center), Health Services, Residence Life if a move is required, and Academic Affairs if course adjustments are required.

Other resources are available on the Title IX website.

Revision history

This policy was approved as of: 6/5/2019

Next scheduled review: 6/5/2021

Responsibilities

Issuing Office

Risk, Emergency Management, and RISD Property Holdings

Responsible Officer

Vice President of Campus Services

Individuals/offices required for review and changes

Director of Risk Management

Title IX Coordinator (or Deputy)

Director, Public Safety

General Counsel