The Vanderbilt Hustler, the school’s student newspaper, reported that this year that Vanderbilt University has rolled out additional new policies designed to protect minors on its campus and in the community. First on the list is mandatory training that is required of Vanderbilt students participating in student organizations that perform community services involving minors.
Another new requirement is that students who take part in programs with minors when when parents or guardians are not present, or there is not “adequate supervision” of minors, must undergo background checks. The school’s administrators charged with protecting minors are helping to determine which students need background checks. In cases where there is adequate supervision when the students are with the minors, which appears to be the majority of the time, the college volunteers will not be required to undergo background checks.
Under the new training policy, students will learn about their reporting obligations under both the university’s policy and Tennessee law, as well as suspicious activities, red flag behaviors, and prevention procedures.
Student organization leaders are expected to make sure that volunteers in their organization undergo the training, and the Office of Student Accountability will monitor compliance. If a student who has not undergone proper training participates in an activity with minors, the organization and the student may be disciplined.
As we reported last year in a blog posting, Vanderbilt has demonstrated a commitment to protecting the minors on its campus. In April 2013, Vanderbilt University announced it had developed a new comprehensive protection of minors policy. As the school continues to roll out new programs in line with this policy, it appears the university is regularly reviewing and enhancing its background policies and procedures. Doing so can only help make it a safer place for both minors, as well as for others who live and work on campus.