TO: The Trinity Community
FR: PresidentPatricia McGuire
RE: Protecting Children on Campus; Preventing Harassment for Everyone
As reports cascade about the terrible scandal atPennStateinvolving the alleged abuse of children at the hands of a coach, it seems important to remind everyone at Trinity of our policies and procedures for the protection of children on our campus, for the prevention of harassment for everyone, and for reporting any illegal activity.
Trinity has a longstanding policy concerning the protection of children on campus, reprinted in full below, and available on our website at http://www.trinitydc.edu/policies/children-on-campus/
In particular, it is critical that no child be left alone anywhere on campus. We will call the police if we find a child wandering the hallways or locked in a car. Additionally, resident students may not babysit children in their rooms, and we do not permit casual babysitting anywhere on campus. If a child care emergency makes it necessary for a parent to bring a child to campus, we understand that such situations arise, and we ask faculty and supervisors to address that situation with care and sensitivity, but in no case may the child be left alone in a lounge, the library, the computer labs, or even worse, cars.
Trinity also has a very clear policy on harassment. See http://www.trinitydc.edu/policies/harassment/ Every member of this community has a right to receive full respect and dignity, and no one should ever feel intimidated, threatened or harassed for any reason.
Trinity also has a policy on ethical communications, also known as a “Whistleblower Policy.” See: http://www.trinitydc.edu/policies/ethical-conduct-communciations/
This policy protects your right to report any suspected incidence of illegal or fraudulent activity to university authorities without any fear of reprisal. We absolutely must know about anything going on that is illegal or fraudulent or a violation of our policies. We can and will take immediate action once we get a report.
We take pride in managing Trinity with the highest standards for ethical conduct. As a Catholic college, we are particularly concerned with the protection of the rights and dignity of every human person here. We have designed these policies and procedures with the specific intent of helping us to achieve that goal.
Please let me know if you have questions or comments on these policies or other matters.
Policy: Children on Campus
Trinity celebrates the presence of many children in the lives of our large campus family, and Trinity is committed to doing everything possible to ensure the health, safety and well being of all children.
Trinity complies with all laws concerning the protection of children, and will immediately report any cases of suspected child abuse or neglect to the police and Child Protective Services. Trinity expects all organizations that bring children to our campus to have procedures in place for criminal background checks of the adults who work with the children, and evidence of appropriate credentialing and supervision of the children and the staff working with them.
Trinity is committed to maintaining an appropriate academic environment for collegiate-level teaching and learning, research, co-curricular activities, and all of the related work that supports the academic life of the university. To achieve these objectives, Trinity expects the full cooperation of all faculty, staff and students in observing these policies, which apply to all persons under the age of 18 who are not otherwise enrolled in programs of Trinity:
1. As a general rule, because Trinity’s work is higher education, Trinity’s campus is not an appropriate environment for children unless they are enrolled in a program specifically designed for children and appropriately supervised by adults with the proper training and credentials, also subject to required criminal background check clearances. Students and faculty expect to be able to conduct their teaching and research in an adult academic environment; Trinity manages the campus primarily for adults, and does not have the capacity to provide safe places for children who are not enrolled in specific programs. As a result, parents or guardians who find it necessary to bring a child to campus must adhere strictly to these rules:
a. no child may be left alone on campus at any time for any reason; Trinity will call the police if any child is found locked in a car or wandering alone around the campus;
b. children may not accompany Trinity students to class;
c. personnel may not bring children to work unless Trinity has specifically designated a time or place for staff children to be present;
d. unless they are enrolled in a specific program approved by Trinity with appropriate adult supervision, children may not be in the library, classrooms, computer labs or science building; children may not be present on residence hall floors; children may not be in the Trinity Center except in supervised programs.
2. Resident students may not ‘babysit’ children in their rooms. In addition, resident students may not have guests in their rooms who are legal minors, under the age of 18, including relatives.
3. Lounges, the Cyber Lounge, the Café and other public spaces on campus are not appropriate places for child care, and children may not be left in these rooms for extended periods of time, even if other students are willing to look after the children.
4. We understand that child care emergencies happen. However, Trinity is not in a position to provide emergency child care on campus. We advise students, faculty and staff who have child care emergencies to choose to remain at home rather than trying to bring the child to class or other events on campus. We ask supervisors and faculty members to be lenient in excusing absences that result from child care emergencies.
If, despite this policy statement, a student brings a child to class, the faculty member may act at his or her discretion in handling the immediate situation, but in all cases, should remind the student of this policy. In all cases, the faculty member should inform the respective dean of the situation so that appropriate follow-up communications can occur in a timely way.
Finally we ask students who care for children as parents, guardians, relatives or friends to understand that this kind of statement is necessary because of the grave legal liabilities that exist today for the safety and well-being of children. Trinity cannot provide casual babysitting services; child care is a heavily regulated activity that only properly trained and licensed specialists should provide. If you need assistance in finding appropriate child care, please let your dean or advisor know, and we will make every effort to put you in touch with credentialed child care providers in this neighborhood.
Thank you for your cooperation.