In July, 2012, Vanderbilt University implemented a policy of checking criminal backgrounds of people who worked with minors involved with campus programming. As part of this, the university chancellor requested all deans of schools and colleges, as well as department chairs and heads of units to provide a list of their programs that involved minors. Anyone working in these programs was asked to submit a background check to the university.
Taking an even more proactive role in protecting children, in April, 2013, Vanderbilt implemented a Protection of Minors Policy, designed to ensure that minors who spend time on the campus are safe. As part of this policy, a new director for the protection of minors was hired this summer, and has begun implementing additional safeguards.
According to the school newspaper, InsideVandy, background checks are being expanded so that they apply across the university. The new director is currently identifying Vanderbilt-sponsored non-student programs that involve minors, as well as student organizations that work with minors. When an organization falls under the policy, anyone who works with children will be required to undergo a background check, in addition to completing training to identify child abuse and agreeing to a policy and code of conduct that applies to working with minors.
Protecting our children is of the utmost importance. Schools that proactively review and modify their policies in this regard are to be commended. By identifying additional programs and persons who work with minors in school-sponsored programs, Vanderbilt University demonstrates its commitment to child safety.