Executive Policy Manual

EP14 Protection and Safety of Minors

Approved September 13, 2023


1.0   Policy and Purpose

Washington State University (University, WSU) is committed to providing a safe environment for minors participating in University-sponsored programs and programs held in or on University-owned or -controlled property. This policy sets forth protocols and requirements to address the unique health, safety, and security risks associated with activities involving minors.

2.0   Applicability

This policy applies to:

  • All University programs, employees, volunteers, students, and minors participating in any way in activities involving minors on WSU property or sponsored by or affiliated with WSU;
  • All non-University organizations and entities that operate programs or activities involving minors on WSU property; and
  • Any other person(s) taking part in activities within the scope of this policy.

This policy does not apply to:

  • Undergraduate and graduate academic and orientation programs in which minors are enrolled for academic credit or who have been accepted for enrollment;
  • Events and facilities on campus that are open to the general public that minors attend at the sole discretion and/or under the supervision of their parents or guardians;
  • Field trips sponsored, controlled, staffed, and supervised by a minor participant’s school. Note: If WSU personnel take control or ownership of the event, this policy (EP14) applies);
  • WSU Children’s Center;
  • Research participants in IRB-approved research;
  • Police Cadet program;
  • WSU units employing minors for programmatic purposes. Note: Departments that employ minors must follow the requirements of BPPM 60.26 and departments that have minors as volunteers must follow the requirements of BPPM 60.81; or
  • Other programs as may be designated from time to time by the WSU Risk Management Executive Committee (see Executive Policy Manual EP6), in advance and in writing, as exempted from this policy or specific provisions of this policy.

In the event of a conflict between this document and requirements of a specific agreement with WSU, the more stringent requirements apply.

WSU adult employees, students, and volunteers who bring minor dependent children to the workplace during work time must follow the requirements of BPPM 60.82. However, this policy’s provisions for minors in hazardous environments, laboratories, and working with animals also apply to minor dependent children.

3.0   Definitions

Abuse or Neglect of Minors

Infliction of physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, or negligent treatment or maltreatment of a person under age 18. (See RCW 26.44.)

Sexual abuse includes engaging in or attempting to cause a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct or exposing the minor to sexually explicit conduct.

Neglect includes the failure to make reasonable efforts to prevent the infliction of abuse upon a person under age 18.

Adequate Supervision

Supervising minors in a University-run, -sponsored, or-affiliated program, or activity in a manner consistent with the guidelines set forth in this policy.

Authorized Adult or Program Staff

Individuals in programs covered by this policy, age 18 and older, paid, or unpaid, who consistently interact with, treat, supervise, chaperone, or otherwise oversee minors in program activities. This includes, but is not limited to, faculty, staff, volunteers, graduate students, undergraduate students, interns, employees of temporary employment agencies, and independent contractors/consultants.

The authorized adult or program staff’s roles may include positions as counsellors, chaperones, coaches, instructors, health care providers, etc. For the purposes of this policy, the term program staff is also assigned this definition.

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. Authorized adults are considered to be “mandated reporters” as defined by Washington law (see Mandated Reporter definition and Section 5.11 regarding reporting requirements).


Repeated, unreasonable, and targeted actions of individuals (or a group) directed towards an individual which intimidate, degrade, humiliate, or undermine; or which create a risk to the health or safety of the individual. Bullying may:

  • Include, but is not limited to, actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose;

  • Occur directly, via in-person, telephone, email, social media, and/or internet, or indirectly through a third party or some other means;

  • Be implicit, explicit, direct, indirect, or coercive in nature; and

  • Involve using social and cultural power dynamics.

Campus Security Authority (CSA)

CSAs are employees designated by the University who have specific reporting requirements under federal law. Information about CSA reporting requirements is included in Section 5.11.


Washington law uses the words “child” and “children” when addressing abuse and neglect. The use of the words “minor” and “minors” within this policy is meant to be synonymous with the words “child” and “children” as used in Washington law addressing abuse and neglect.

Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF)

DCYF is the Washington state agency responsible for receiving and assessing reports of child abuse and neglect.

Mandated Reporter

Any person mandated by Washington state law to report information about child abuse or neglect. Information about mandated reporting responsibilities is included in Section 5.11.

Minor (Child/Children)

Any person under the age of 18 who does not attend a postsecondary institution. WSU-enrolled students who are under the age of 18 are:

  • Treated by this policy similarly to all other students for purposes of their interactions with minors in University-run, -sponsored, or -affiliated programs and activities; and

  • Subject to the requirements that apply to students 18 or older.

Non-University Sponsored Programs

Programs that are not operated on behalf of the University or under the University’s control.

Program Administrator

The person(s) who has primary and direct operational responsibility for managing a program.


All buildings, facilities, and properties that are owned, operated, managed, or controlled (this includes used and/or rented) by WSU.

Sponsoring Unit

The academic or administrative unit of the University that offers a program.

University-Run, -Sponsored, or -Affiliated Programs and Activities

University programs, services, or activities involving minors that are owned, operated, managed, or controlled by WSU in which University students, faculty, or staff engage through their university roles.

This term does not include programs or activities in which one may engage that are unrelated to one’s status as a member of the University’s faculty, staff, or student body.


One who spends time participating in any University-run, -sponsored, or -affiliated programs and activities, but is not a member of the University’s faculty, staff, or student body.


Those authorized adults or program staff who freely perform assigned and authorized duties for on campus or off-campus University-run, -sponsored, or -affiliated programs and activities without receiving wages, and who may be subject to some, or all of the requirements of this policy as determined by the program administrator.

For a volunteer to be exempt from this policy, the program administrator must submit a written request for exemption in advance of the program/activity to the Risk Management Executive Committee through the office of Risk Management.

Volunteers and their responsible departments must also adhere to the provisions of BPPM 60.81.

Minors may volunteer their time to assist WSU departments in conducting official University business and activities. Programs that wish to involve minor volunteers must follow the provisions of BPPM 60.81.

4.0  Roles and Responsibilities

4.1    Roles and Responsibilities of the Program and Authorized Adults

Authorized adults or program staff must:

  • Have specific training, background check, reporting, and programmatic responsibilities (see Sections 4.2, 4.3, and 5.0).
  • Familiarize themselves with this policy and complete policy requirements, prior to working with minors.
  • Protect minor well-being and safety on campus or elsewhere.
  • Monitor for and report signs of minor abuse, bullying, and/or neglect on campus or elsewhere when charged with oversight of minor activities.

Note: University faculty and others on campus may also interact with minors in classes or in other incidental, nonacademic settings (e.g., library, dining facilities, fitness centers, etc.). These individuals are advised to familiarize themselves with the reporting requirements in Section 5.11, but are not obligated to undergo the training or background checks described in Section 5.2 and 5.3 respectively, although other requirements may apply depending on the specific program.

4.2    Responsibilities of Non-University Organizations and Entities

Non-University organizations and entities that wish to operate programs or activities involving minors on University property must first provide documentation to the University sponsoring unit indicating that the program, including all individuals associated with the program who are to be interacting with minors (and anyone who supervises such individuals), meet or exceed the minimum requirements of this policy.

Third-party vendors need to provide the WSU Risk Management office with a certificate of insurance, listing WSU as an additional insured under their insurance policies, including sexual assault and molestation coverage where available. (See also BPPM 50.11.)

4.3    Rights and Responsibilities of Minors

While participating in programs or activities within the scope of this policy, minors have specific rights and responsibilities. Program administrators are responsible for implementing and monitoring their program’s compliance with these rights and responsibilities.

4.3.a    Immunization Requirements

In order to protect the health of minor participants, WSU has specific vaccination recommendations/requirements. (See EP43.) If a communicable disease outbreak occurs, the program administrator contacts county health officials.

In order for a minor to participate in an overnight program under this policy, parents or legal guardians must:

  • Confirm either visually or by attestation from the parent/legal guardian that the minor has received the vaccinations required to attend school, preschool, or childcare in the state of Washington, in accordance with WAC 246-105-030 and WAC 246-105-040; or
  • Request an exemption due to medical or religious reasons.

Confirmation of vaccinations or a request for an exemption is to be submitted to the program administrator no later than one week before the program starts, unless otherwise approved by the program administrator. All requests for exemptions must have supporting documentation. Day program participants are not required to show proof of vaccinations.

4.3.b    Disability Accommodations

Minors participating in WSU programs or activities have the right to seek reasonable accommodations on the basis of a disability, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 USC 705), and other relevant laws and regulations. Minors or their parents or legal guardians are to contact the program administrator with any accommodation requests. Program administrators must engage in the interactive process to review such a request and may consult with WSU’s ADA coordinator, as needed. (See also Section 5.9.)

4.3.c    Prohibited Acts for Minors

While participating in programs or activities within the scope of this policy, minors are prohibited from:

  • The use of alcohol or controlled substances, including cannabis;
  • Engaging in sexual contact or conduct with others;
  • Engaging in discrimination or harassment, as defined in the WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment, EP15;
  • Engaging in bullying or hazing or other behaviors that endanger themselves or others, which are disruptive to other participants or guests, or which cause damage to University facilities;
  • Entering portions of facilities or utilizing certain equipment which the program identified as restricted; and
  • Engaging in prohibited and hazardous employment activities. (See Section 5.10.d).

Moreover, guests of participants (other than a parent/legal guardian and other program participants) are restricted to visitations only in designated locations and during approved hours specified by the program. Minors who violate this policy are subject to sanction, up to and including removal from a program or the University.

5.0   Requirements

5.1   Registration

5.1.a   Program Registration

To sponsor or host a program involving minors, the sponsoring program or program staff must complete a registration with Risk Management at least 30 days before the program start date. Risk Management reviews program registrations and may disapprove a registration for failure to meet the requirements of this policy. Program registrations must include assurance that all program staff and authorized adults have or will receive required training prior to the start of the program, as described in Section 5.2. Departments with significant programming activity and an established registration process in place that meets the requirements of Section 5.1, such as WSU Extension and 4-H, may submit a request to Risk Management to register their programs once per calendar year.

Program registration must include:

  • Description of program
  • Dates and times of program, including whether the program includes overnight stays
  • Anticipated number of minors, with the age range of those minors
  • Primary program contact
  • Sponsoring department
  • Program staff who will be interacting or supervising minors
  • All locations that will be utilized by the program
  • Agreement to abide by the requirements of this policy
  • For third-party vendors, a statement acknowledging the institution may monitor compliance of their operation
5.1.b Participant Registration

The program administrator is responsible for participant registration. The following information must be included the participant’s registration unless otherwise approved by Risk Management:

  • Participant name and preferred name
  • Parent/legal guardian name and contact information
  • Emergency contact information
  • Names of individuals authorized to pick up child if different than parent/legal guardian
  • Medical Information:
    • Vaccination as required by state law.
    • Parent/legal guardian health insurance contact information for emergency
    • Parent/legal guardian approval to administer medicine in emergencies and consent to treat
    • Participant health history, including dietary restrictions, allergies, and medications
  • Release and consent forms:
    • Assumption of risk
    • Photo/video release form

5.2 Training

At minimum, all authorized and program staff working with minors are required to receive training on the following topics prior to working and on an annual renewal basis:

  • Basic warning signs of abuse or neglect of minors;
  • Requirements and procedures for reporting incidents of suspected abuse, neglect, and/or improper conduct;
  • Identifying, responding to, and reporting bullying;
  • Preventing opportunities for private, one-on-one interactions;
  • Guidelines for protecting minors from emotional and physical abuse and neglect;
  • Safety and security precautions;
  • Social media and communications requirements;
  • Providing medical care and medical release form requirements;
  • Expectations for minors and program staff and volunteers;
  • Maintaining records per University retention policy, including incident reports;
  • Protecting the privacy of minor contact and/or medical information;
  • Minors use of university internet, online tools, and equipment;
  • Discrimination and harassment prevention;
  • Process for receiving and implementing reasonable accommodations due to a disability;
  • Discipline and dismissal for policy violations;
  • Crisis and emergency response protocols for the specific program;
  • Specific risks and policies or procedures for overnight activities (when applicable);
  • Specific risks and policies or procedures for hazardous activities, laboratory environments, field trips, transportation, or other risks;
  • Applicable cultural competency training.

Programs that may foreseeably impact or engage with Native American people, Tribes, or natural resources are to carefully review EP41 and consult with the Office of Tribal Relations to identify additional training or requirements.

Authorized and program staff must receive training prior to engaging with minors and prior to staying overnight in on- or off-campus housing facilities. Sponsoring departments are responsible for ensuring training is implemented and must maintain records documenting completion for authorized adults and program staff. Note: Departments are expected to ensure that rehires complete annual renewal training as directed.

Risk Management provides a basic training for WSU employees that meets the minimum requirements of this policy. WSU units and programs are encouraged to build off the basic training and expand their training to address unique program elements and/or specific roles.

Non-University organizations and entities wishing to operate programs or activities involving minors on campus must provide documentation to the sponsoring unit that all individuals who will be interacting with minors (and anyone who supervises such individuals) have received training that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of this section (Section 5.2).

5.3   Screening and Background Checks

The sponsoring unit is responsible for the screening and approval process for all program staff. Program staff selection and screening includes the following minimum elements:

  • Application form;
  • In-person interview (Zoom, Skype, or other forms of online interviews may be used as an in-person interview). Note: Rehires do not require an in-person interview;
  • Reference check;
  • Background check and disclosure of convictions, as required by BPPM 60.16 for employees and BPPM 60.81 for volunteers working with minors. Note: Rehires do require new background and conduct history checks;
  • Driver’s license check as required by SPPM 7.10;
  • For employees, a sexual harassment history reference check by Human Resource Services (HRS), in compliance with RCW 28B.112.080; and
  • Student conduct history check after consenting to release of records (for current student employees).

The hiring department is responsible for all costs incurred by the background check process.

An offer of employment or volunteer position must not be extended until the background check process is complete and the background information is thoroughly assessed. If a background check reveals relevant adverse information or unfavorable results, the department head of the sponsoring unit assesses any potential risk, in consultation with HRS, the campus public safety, police, or security department, and/or Risk Management, and informs the sponsoring unit’s executive vice president, vice president, dean, or chancellor of any decisions to hire. A prior conviction does not automatically disqualify a person from participating in a program or activity.

Except where required by law, background checks of University faculty, staff, and students that are conducted pursuant to this policy:

  • Are used only for employment purposes; and
  • Are otherwise kept confidential; and
  • Are retained pursuant to other WSU policies (see BPPM 60.16 and 90.01).

Prior to operating programs on campus involving minors, non-University organizations and entities must conduct and provide documentation to the sponsoring unit of background checks that meet University standards for their employees, volunteers, and representatives. The University reserves the right to request additional information and to refuse access to University facilities to programs that do not sufficiently screen employees, volunteers, and representatives.

5.4   Conduct Requirements for Program Staff and Authorized Adults

Program staff and authorized adults must follow the requirements below. Failure to follow these guidelines is cause for disciplinary referral and may result in sanctions, up to and including termination. Program staff and authorized adults must:

  • Adhere to the requirements of EP15 (WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment), which includes:
    • Not engaging in prohibited conduct, including inappropriate touching, under EP15 and this policy (EP14); and
    • Treating all minors equitably regardless of their race, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, age, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, marital status, genetic information, status as an honorably discharged veteran or member of the military, physical, mental, or sensory disability, including the use of a trained service animal, and immigration or citizenship status.
  • Ensure all communications, including face-to-face, telephone, online, text, emails, etc., are professional and related to the program. Text messages should be limited to group chats or for emergencies.

Program staff and authorized adults must not:

  • Engage in private, one-on-one interactions with minors. Where a one-on-one interaction is required, the interaction must be in an open space, observable by others. The only exception to this is when a private conversation is necessary to gather more information needed for state mandatory reporting requirements;
  • Be housed overnight in the same room as a minor unless they happen to be the minor’s parents or legal guardians;
  • Enter a minor’s room, bathroom facility, or similar area without another staff member, parent, or legal guardian present, except in the event of a medical or other emergency;
  • Meet with minors outside of the established activities and programs covered by this policy unless they happen to be a parent or legal guardian. This includes not sharing personal contact information with a minor without the parent’s or legal guardian’s consent;
  • Engage in any abusive conduct of any kind towards minors, including but not limited to striking, hitting, or verbal abuse;
  • Provide any prohibited or restricted substances, such as tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs to minors, except where parental consent is provided, or a licensed health care provider is employed to administer treatment;
  • Engage with minors online or on social media during the duration of the program, except as noted below. Emails may be utilized, but the minor’s parent or legal guardian must be copied. Note: Social media may be used for programmatic purposes provided such use does not allow for individual or private communication.

5.5   Adequate Supervision of Minors

Program administrators are responsible for ensuring that appropriate levels of supervision and gender representation (if needed) are maintained at all times. In determining adequate supervision, program administrators must consider:

  • The number and age of participants;
  • The risks associated with the activity;
  • The location of the activity;
  • Whether housing or travel is involved; and
  • The age and experience of the authorized adult and program staff.

Minimum adequate supervision in certain situations is outlined in Table 1 and Table 2.

Table 1: Minimum supervision for overnight camps and programs
Number of Adults/Staff Members Age of Minors
1 for every 8 minors, minimum of 2 9-14
1 for every 10 minors, minimum of 2 15-17
Table 2: Minimum supervision for day camps and programs
Number of Adults/Staff Members Age of Minors
1 for every 6 campers 4-5
1 for every 8 campers 6-8
1 for every 10 campers 9-14
1 for every 12 campers 15-17

5.6   Specific Requirements for Overnight Campus Activities Involving Minors

Overnight campus stays present unique risks to minors and the University. The following requirements apply to any programs involving overnight activities or stays on campus:

  • Prior to an overnight campus activity, the sponsoring program must:
    • Document the overnight activities and receive preapproval of the activity in writing through the registration process (see Section 5.1).
    • Appoint a program administrator(s) to serve as an authorized adult(s) as required by Section 4.1 for overnight supervision, and to serve as a primary contact for the group.
    • Provide parents with a permission slip for their children to attend the overnight event(s), which must include information about the overnight activities, as well as the process to request a reasonable accommodation due to disability. The sponsoring unit must retain the signed permission slip in accordance with the University Records Retention Schedule Public Affairs and Public Disclosure Records table (regarding minor participant agreements).
    • Provide in writing to University Housing a final group reservation count by gender, as well as a list of approved authorized adults or program administrators, sufficient to meet the requirements of Section 4.1, no later than one week prior to the group check-in.
    • Ensure sufficient housing and program staff are available and scheduled for the overnight activities, and that there are sufficient staff-to-minor ratios.
    • Coordinate room assignments for participants with University Housing. Room assignments must follow these conditions:
      • Facilitate implementation of disability housing accommodations with University Housing, where applicable. Minor participants with housing disability accommodations are placed in appropriate housing.
      • Minors are to be assigned to rooms according to their gender identity. Minors are to be housed, according to their gender identity, on separate floors of residence halls during their stay. If a floor must be mixed gender, then separation is to the greatest extent possible. Any questions are to be directed to CCR; telephone 509-335-8288.
      • Program staff are assigned rooms.
  • During an overnight campus activity, the designated program administrator(s) must:
    • Ensure at least one program staff/authorized adult is available at all times.
    • Review the group roster and housing assignments with University Housing staff.
    • Ensure minor participants are informed of the physical boundaries and/or restricted areas of the housing facility.
    • Make regular and random observations of overnight activities, including:
      • Occupied room checks, which are to be conducted by at least two approved adults (e.g., program administrator, authorized adult, or Housing staff), except in the case of an emergency.
      • Periodic checks and/or walkthroughs of high-risk areas including, but not limited to, bathrooms, entrances, exits, hallways, elevators, stairwells, common rooms, etc.
    • Coordinate any room changes or reassignments with Housing staff.
    • Communicate with Housing staff for other concerns or questions, as needed.
      • Housing staff also maintain a presence in all facilities occupied by conference or guest groups. Housing staff conduct periodic walk-throughs of the facility, and provide assistance with emergency response, general information services, and general facilities oversight.
      • Information is provided to each camper in their room related to emergency notification information, safety, and standard University expectations.
    • Hold meetings with the group or individual minors in open and observable areas.
    • Make regular head counts and roll checks to ensure all participants are accounted for.
      • Report missing or unaccounted participants to university police or local law enforcement immediately.

5.7  Specific Requirements for Transportation Involving Minors

Programs that may include transporting minors must follow the requirements below:

  • Vehicle transportation

    Program staff are not permitted to be alone with a minor in a vehicle. A minimum of two program staff must be in each vehicle transporting minors.

    It is recommended that programs use chartered transportation rather than University transportation when possible. Where University transportation must be used, the following requirements apply (see SPPM 7.10):

    • Seatbelts used by all passengers where passenger seating incorporates seat belts e.g. does not apply to school bus seating (may not have more passengers than available seatbelts). Drivers must ensure that authorized passengers under 16 years of age are properly restrained in safety belts or car seats, as appropriate. (RCW 46.61.687)
    • Minors are prohibited from riding in the back of a pickup truck or all-terrain vehicle.
    • Driver must have a valid driver’s license with required endorsements for the vehicle driven e.g. P1, P2 or S endorsements.
    • Driver to follow speed limit and other road signs.
    • Vehicle is mechanically sound.
    • Vehicle is properly insured.
    • Vehicles must meet the requirements of SPPM 7.10 which dictates appropriate vehicles and drivers for minor transportation.
    • Persons under the age of 13 must not ride in the front seat of a vehicle, RCW 46.61.687.
    • See SPPM 7.10 regarding insurance requirements for driving vehicles for University business.
  • Transportation such as bicycles, scooters, go-carts, and other wheeled transportation devices. All riders should wear helmets.

5.8 Education for Minor Visitors and Parents of Minor Visitors

Sponsoring units will ensure minors participating in programs subject to this policy, and their parents, receive documentation, training, and/or education on the following:

  • Safety and security procedures.
  • University rules related to the applicable facilities and activities.
  • Rules established by and for the program.
  • Behavioral expectations including, but not limited to bullying and hazing.
  • Nondiscrimination policies and procedures, including the right to report to Compliance and Civil Rights or the Title IX Coordinator.
  • How and where to report other types of misconduct.

Sponsoring units are responsible for:

  • Developing all training and educational materials for program participants;
  • Enforcing all program rules; and
  • Providing program and institutional policy and rules to participants.

Sponsoring units are also to provide the following to parents or legal guardians of minors:

  • The name and phone number of a program administrator they may contact if they have questions or concerns about their child.
  • How to report and what to report for incidents including injuries, dangerous situations, and suspicious or concerning behavior.

5.9 Reasonable Accommodations and Medication Management

Minors participating in programs under this policy have the right to seek reasonable accommodations to the program or activity, based on a disability.

Program administrators are responsible for:

  • Receiving accommodation requests;
  • Engaging in the interactive process to identify and implement reasonable accommodations, where the requested accommodations do not fundamentally alter or place an undue burden on the program;
  • Consulting with the WSU ADA Coordinator, if needed, and considering potential accommodation needs when developing program budgets;
  • Identifying locations and activities that are accessible to all.

Minors may have medication or other disability related needs concurrent with their participation in programs under this policy and may request accommodations which may include:

  • Having a licensed health care provider, where available, assist the minor with dispensing or monitoring medications;
  • Providing an opportunity for parents or legal guardians to assist the minor;
  • Providing an opportunity for minors to self-medicate, where determined appropriate through the reasonable accommodation interactive process and accompanied by parental permission; or
  • Providing other types of accommodations, as applicable.

Program administrators are responsible for confirming that medications are securely stored, and access is limited in accordance with best practices and the needs of the minor.

For minors that are unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian, the program must obtain a medical release for hospital treatment or treatment by a physician, signed by one or both of the minor’s parents or guardians, to allow for treatment should injury or accident occur.

5.10   Specific Requirements for Minors Participating in Higher Risk Activities

Certain activities may present higher risks to minor participants and special care must be taken to ensure the safety of participants.

5.10.a   Laboratory Activities

Where a sponsoring program intends to invite minors to participate in laboratory activities, the sponsoring program must:

  • Meet with campus Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to consult about laboratory safety prior to laboratory activities (see Appendix A, Section A.3.a); and
  • Ensure relevant program staff and authorized adults are compliant with SPPM 7.10, as well as the requirements regarding minors in laboratories in this policy’s Appendix A.
5.10.b  Managing-Risk Activities

If a sponsoring program intends to invite minors to participate in high-risk activities, including physical activities that could result in physical injury, the sponsoring program must obtain an assumption of risk and release of liability from the parents and/or legal guardians for the participating minors. Sponsoring programs may also want to consult with the WSU Risk Management Committee for additional recommendations regarding unique programs.

For all other activities, an assumption of risk and release of liability from the parents and/or legal guardians for the participating minors is strongly recommended. For questions consult Risk Management.

5.10.c  Programs Involving Animals

It is the sponsoring program’s responsibility to ensure that all necessary safety training and University approvals (including approval by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)) have been completed and received to allow minors to participate in programs involving direct contact with live animals.

(See also BPPM 45.45.)

5.10.d  Prohibited and Hazardous Employment and Volunteer Activities

Minors are not allowed to engage in prohibited or hazardous employment and occupations, as required by state law, WAC 296-125-030 and WAC 296-131-125.

5.11    Reporting Requirements

Authorized adults and program staff, including faculty, staff, student employees, and volunteers, who act on behalf of the institution, are to be alert and cautious in protecting the safety and well-being of minors. Authorized adults and program staff have the following reporting requirements:

5.11.a   Emergencies

In case of an emergency, immediately call 911. Contact the WSU Police (Pullman campus) or the applicable campus safety and security department after calling 911:

5.11.b   Known or Suspected Abuse or Neglect of Minors

Medical practitioners, school personnel, employees of state and private higher education institutions, law enforcement, and any supervisor with a nonprofit or for-profit organization who have reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect must report at the first opportunity (no longer than 48 hours) to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), or to the appropriate law enforcement agency. (RCW 26.44.030).

  • Reports may be made by:
    • Calling 911 for emergencies;
    • Contacting the WSU Police (Pullman campus) or the applicable campus safety/security department (see Emergencies for contact information);
    • Contacting the regional office for the DCYF; telephone 1-800-557-9671; or
    • Calling the DCYF 24/7 hotline; telephone 1-866-363-4276.
  • In addition, promptly notify a supervisor, program administrator, dean, executive vice president, or vice president.
  • RCW 26.44 protects individuals from retaliation when they make good faith reports about child abuse or neglect.
  • Reports should be made whether or not the alleged conduct occurred on or off campus.

All volunteers participating in a WSU program under this policy, as well as non-University organizations and entities operating programs or activities on campus involving minors, who have reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect must immediately contact the WSU supervisor, sponsoring unit, or program coordinator.

5.11.c   Discrimination and Harassment (see EP15)

All WSU employees, with limited exceptions identified in EP15, must report sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, nonconsensual sexual contact, stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence, to Compliance and Civil Rights (CCR) or the Title IX Coordinator; e-mail ccr@wsu.edu; telephone 509-335-8288, or through the CCR online form.

All WSU employees with supervisory responsibility are required to report all other instances of discrimination to CCR; telephone 509-335-8288; or through the CCR online form.

5.11.d   Accidents

Authorized adults and program staff, including faculty, staff, volunteers, and student employees, are to promptly report all accidental injuries involving minors immediately to supervisors for evaluation and investigation. Supervisors must report to Risk Management, who coordinates with Public Safety and EHS, as needed. Reports may be made to:

  • Telephone 509-335-6983 during business hours; or
  • Telephone 911 after business hours; and
  • For incidents outside of Whitman County, telephone 509-332-2521 (24 hours/day)
5.11.e   Campus Security Authority Reporting

Individuals designated as Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) are required to report certain crimes that occur on campus, off-campus, and on public property that is considered part of WSU’s Clery Act Geography to the campus crime statistics collector using the Clery Reporting Online Form.

Training is available for CSAs through the HRS Percipio Training System using the following steps:

  • Select the employee profile icon (upper right corner, often with employee initials);
  • Select Compliance;
  • Select Web-based Training: Clery Act

Questions regarding whether or not to report specific situations, which do not clearly fit under one of the above categories, are to be directed to the campus police or security department.

5.12   Requirements for Addressing Reports of Abuse or Neglect

When the University is aware of alleged abuse or neglect of a minor in an on-campus University-run, -sponsored, or -affiliated program or activity, or in a non-University program or activity occurring on campus, the person receiving the report must immediately notify the campus police or security department. The campus police or security department, in consultation with the appropriate vice president or designee and Risk Management, must take immediate steps to respond to the concern including, but not limited to:

  • Identifying and facilitating steps to prevent further harm to the alleged victim or other minors pending the resolution of the matter, which may include:
    • Removing the alleged abuser from the program or activity;
    • Limiting contact between individuals;
    • Developing a safety plan for the alleged victim or other minors.
  • Determining whether to submit a report to WSU’s Threat Assessment Team (TAT) (see EP42).
  • Verify that all reporting requirements (see Section 5.11) have been met.
  • Notify the parents or guardians of the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator, if appropriate.
  • Investigate the report and resolve the matter in a way that is consistent with other existing University policies and grievance procedures and afford fundamental fairness and due process rights to the individuals involved.
  • Facilitate the University’s cooperation with any investigation conducted by law enforcement authorities and/or other governmental agencies.
  • Take steps to protect the interests and privacy of the alleged victims, reporters, witnesses, and perpetrator, as allowable by law.

6.0   References and Resources

6.1   Forms

Sponsoring programs may access sample forms and templates through Compliance and Risk Management.

6.2   Minor Dependent Children

WSU adult employees and volunteers who bring minor dependent children to the workplace must follow BPPM 60.82: Children in the Workplace.

After reviewing BPPM 60.82, contact HRS for additional assistance; telephone 509-335-4521.

6.3   Minor Volunteers

WSU adult employees, students, and volunteers who supervise minor volunteers, must abide by BPPM 60.81: Volunteers.

Minor volunteers are covered under workers’ compensation insurance. Minor volunteers are not allowed to engage in prohibited or hazardous employment and occupations, as required by state law, WAC 296-125-030 and WAC 296-131-125.

Additional assistance is available through HRS (regarding workers’ compensation); and Risk Management; telephone 509-335-3682.

7.0   Responsible Office(s) and Enforcement

Individuals who have concerns about compliance with this policy should report their concerns to Compliance and Risk Management for review. Programs are encouraged to report compliance issues voluntarily and promptly. Compliance and Risk Management determines whether the specific program can remedy their compliance issues, or if the program is to be prohibited from operating for some period of time or have their contract terminated. Compliance and Risk Management’s determination is final.

Authorized adults and program staff who do not follow the provisions of this policy may also be subject to employee disciplinary procedures, up to and including termination of employment. Compliance and Risk Management may conduct periodic and unscheduled audits of programs covered by this policy to ensure programs are complying with policy provisions.

7.1   Contacts

Questions regarding a specific program or requests for disability accommodations within a program under this policy should be directed to the program administrator.

Specific questions about this policy should be directed to Risk Management; telephone 509-335-3682.

Questions about background checks for employees should be directed to HRS; telephone 509-335-4521.

Questions about reporting requirements related to state mandatory reports of child abuse and neglect should be directed to local law enforcement.

Questions about accommodations should be directed to the WSU ADA Coordinator; telephone 509-335-8288.

7.2 Committee and Policy Review

The WSU Chief Compliance and Risk Officer appoints members to a WSU Minors on Campus system committee. Members are responsible for ensuring that WSU policies, procedures, forms, and templates for programs involving minors are appropriate given changing legal requirements and societal values. The WSU Minors on Campus Committee reviews this policy every two years.

Appendix A: Additional Requirements for Minors in Laboratories

Managing Safety, Risk, and Liability When Employing or Collaborating with Minors in WSU Laboratories

A.1   Definitions

Laboratory Rooms in which hazardous chemicals, radiation, or biological materials subject to National Institute of Health (NIH) restrictions are handled or stored. A laboratory is any space in which teaching or research activities take place, and hazardous or radiological materials may be present
Hazardous Areas Rooms with unusual hazards, such as machine rooms, electrical rooms, and equipment rooms, are considered hazardous areas.
Standard Operation Hours Those hours when the main offices would normally be open to public access. Currently, this includes the hours between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

A.2   Purpose of These Guidelines

In keeping with WSU’s mission of education and outreach, it is appropriate for persons under the age of 18 years to occasionally be allowed to enter research or teaching laboratories for educational or recruiting purposes.

Because there are strict federal and state limits on the amount of radiation exposure that minors may receive and limits on the types of chemical and biological substances that minors may be exposed to, it is necessary to establish guidelines for the appropriate supervision of minors in laboratory areas. Furthermore, some laboratories are open laboratories. These spaces dictate special requirements regarding the safety of minors in the workspace. These guidelines are necessary to protect a child’s health and safety, and to prevent harm arising from a child’s exposure to harmful agents or conditions.

Minors are not allowed to engage in prohibited or hazardous employment, as required by state law, WAC 296-125-030 and WAC 296-131-125.

A.3   Regulations Regarding Minors and Their Exposure to Biological, Hazardous, and Radiological Materials

Individuals younger than 15 years old are not allowed at any time in WSU laboratories. Individuals 15-17 years of age may enter WSU laboratories under the conditions described in Sections A.3.a, A.3.b, and A.3.c.

A.3.a   Biological Materials

Minors between the ages of 15-17 may work with BSL-1 agents in an adult supervised environment after obtaining proper safety training. This training must include:

  • A review of the Biosafety Manual for the laboratory (see also SPPM 4.20); and
  • The location and proper use of safety equipment such as emergency showers, eye wash stations, and first aid kits.

The research supervisor must provide laboratory coats, safety glasses, and gloves to each minor. The minor must wear this equipment at all times when collaborating with these agents.

Minors between the ages of 15-17 are allowed to work with BSL-2 agents in an adult supervised environment only after specific conditions are met:

  • The project and the minor’s role in it must be submitted to the WSU Biosafety Committee for approval before research commences; and
  • The minor must undergo appropriate safety training before their research commences.

Minors between the ages of 15-17 may enter and work on a BSL-1 project in an open-bay laboratory where BSL-2 work may be going on. If the minor does not meet the conditions spelled out in the prior paragraph, then they are not allowed to have any contact with benches or areas where active BSL-2 work is taking place.

Minors are never allowed to come in contact with BSL-3 or BSL-4 agents, or any spaces where these agents are handled or stored. Adult supervisors must ensure that minors do not have access or exposure to these agents at any time.

Minors must not perform duties where there is a risk of exposure to human or non-human primate bodily fluids or transmission of infectious agents, including but not limited to hepatitis and HIV, including:

  • Laboratory work which entails the cleaning of medical equipment used to draw or store human or non-human primate blood or other contaminated tissue;
  • Duties which involve human venipuncture; and
  • Duties involving work with laundry from health care facilities; unless the minor is a student in a bona fide health care career training or vocational education program.

   (WAC 296-125-030)

For assistance identifying and minimizing biological hazards or animal hazards contact the Biosafety Officer at the Office of Research Assurances (ORA); telephone 509-335-1585.

A.3.b   Hazardous Materials

Minors are forbidden to work with or be exposed to any chemical or material which is classified as:

The computerized hazardous material inventory and the Laboratory Safety Manual are tools to identify these hazards in each faculty’s laboratory. If a restricted agent is to be used in an open laboratory, all minors must be removed from the immediate laboratory space before work commences.

Minors between the ages of 15 to 17 may handle lower risk chemicals in limited circumstances, with proper safety equipment as necessary, within the discretion of the principal investigator (PI). Minors must be under direct supervision in the laboratory at all times by a trained and knowledgeable WSU employee. This training must include a review of the chemical hazards and protection measures in place as well as location and proper use of safety equipment such as emergency showers, eye wash stations and first aid kits. A WSU faculty member employee must sponsor the student.

The student and their parents or guardian must sign, before a witness or witnesses, the Hazardous Laboratory Minors Consent form (available from Compliance and Risk Management). The form is to be maintained by the department and a copy located in the PI’s Laboratory Safety Manual or laboratory chemical hygiene plan. (See also SPPM 4.12.)

The research supervisor must provide laboratory coats, chemical splash goggles (or safety glasses depending on work to be performed), gloves, and any other appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to each minor. The minor must wear this equipment at all times when working with any chemical or material or in the laboratory.

For assistance in identifying and minimizing chemical hazards contact the applicable campus EHS:

  • WSU Pullman and WSU Spokane EHS; telephone 509-335-3041; WSU Pullman EHS
  • WSU Tri-Cities EHS; telephone 509-372-7163; WSUTC EHS
  • WSU Vancouver EHS; telephone 360-546-9706; e-mail van.plant@wsu.edu
  • WSU Everett EHS; telephone 425-315-4014

Personnel at WSU locations not listed above may contact WSU Pullman EH&S for assistance.

A.3.c   Radioactive Materials

The federally mandated exposure limit for a minor is (less than) < 10% of the allowable adult exposure limit.

Minors must complete the WSU Radiation Safety course before they are allowed to be present in any area where radioactive materials are in use. If minors are to be present in areas where there is a potential for exposure to radioactive materials, faculty must provide a detailed radiation exposure assessment and experimental plan to the WSU Radiation Safety Committee (RSC). Minors are only allowed to commence research after:

  • Approval of the submitted plan by the RSC; and
  • Parental notification and signed consent.

For assistance with identifying and minimizing radiation hazards contact the Radiation Safety Officer; telephone 509-335-7183.

A.4   Screening and Background Checks

Washington State Law requires all adult employees, students or volunteers who supervise or work with minors under 16 years of age, without other adults present, submit to a criminal history screening by the Washington State Patrol (WSP) before the volunteer activity occurs.

In order to comply with this requirement, it is recommended that eligible minors only be provided access to laboratories during standard operating hours when many adults are present. Furthermore, adults are to avoid one-on-one meetings with minors behind closed doors without another adult present.

If a background check is required for an adult, detailed procedures for completing the process are available from WSU Human Resource Services (HRS); telephone 509-335-4521; e-mail hrs@wsu.edu. See also BPPM 60.16.

The department retains copies of all criminal history background checks of individuals in accordance with University records retention requirements (see BPPM 90.01). See also the All-University Records Retention Schedule Payroll and Personnel Records table regarding background clearance checks.

Revisions: Sept. 2023 – new policy (Rev. 114)