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Standards of Behavior for Working with Youth:

All authorized persons should serve as positive role models for youth and act in a caring, honest, respectful, safe, and responsible manner that is consistent with the mission and guiding principles of the University. The behavior of all authorized persons is expected to align at all times with the University‚Äôs Codes of Conduct (1,2) and the below Standards of Behavior for working with youth. These behavioral standards help promote the safety and wellbeing of minor participants. Authorized persons must attest annually that they have read, understand, and will abide by these standards, which are assigned automatically to authorized persons when they are listed in a registered program

Boundaries:

Be aware of the unique vulnerability of minors and be particularly aware of maintaining appropriate physical, emotional, and sexual boundaries in such interactions.

Do not engage in abusive conduct such as hitting, kicking, slapping, shaking, or restraining. Physical contact should only occur when non-sexual and otherwise appropriate and never in private.

Do not engage in any sexual activity, sexually explicit conversations, or share sexually explicit material with minors. Do not make sexual comments or jokes in the presence of a minor or talk about things of a romantic nature with a minor.

Avoid the use of profanity with minors. Do not dress provocatively or inappropriately in the presence of minors.

Discipline:

Do not physically discipline a minor. Corporal punishment is prohibited. Do not use speech, gestures, or other behaviors that are bullying, demeaning, belittling, hurtful, or meant to embarrass.

One-on-One Interactions:

All interactions must be observable and interruptible and held within a well-illuminated area. If that is not appropriate or possible, then the door to the room must be left open, or a window that allows for unobstructed observation should be present. All activities involving minors must adhere to the "rule of three," meaning that reasonable efforts have been made to have two or more adults present during activities where single minors are present. Do not meet with minors outside of established program times.

Drugs, Alcohol, and Other Prohibited Items:

Do not use, possess, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal or mind-altering drugs while in the presence of minors. Do not use any weapon, explosive device, or sexual materials in any form in the presence of minors. Do not make any of the above items available to minors.

Gift Giving:

Do not give a minor or their family gifts or special attention or engage in any behaviors that encourage keeping secrets from a parent/guardian.

Photography:

Do not take or use a photo or video of a minor or post information about minors to social media sites unless the parent/guardian has signed a media release and the photo/video is being used for program-related purposes.

Electronic Communication:

Do not have personal, non-programmatic electronic communication with minors, including via email, text, social networking sites, cloud-based gaming sites, or any other form of electronic communication. Except in an emergency, all electronic communication must be open and transparent (adhering to the rule of three).

Restrooms, Locker Rooms, and Changing Areas:

Do not spend time alone with minors in these areas. Two adults should be assigned to monitor the bathrooms of their gender whenever possible. Do not change clothes in front of a minor.

Overnights:

Do not share accommodations with a minor. At least two adults must be present for room checks. Separate bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers must be used by minors (or be used at separate times).

Transportation:

Do not transport minors alone in any vehicle except in an emergency. Personal vehicles should never be used to transport minors.

Appropriate Physical Interactions (with Consent):

  • Hugging from the side
  • Patting on the shoulder or upper back
  • Shaking hands
  • High fives/fist bumps
  • Holding hands (with young children in an escorting situation)
  • Other brief contact intended to comfort distressed children under the age of 12, so long as another adult is witnessing it
  • Teaching a physical technique that requires hands-on instruction such as finger placement on a musical instrument or positioning for an athletic activity, so long as it is conducted either in the open or in an interior space (1) with the doors and windows open or (2) in a building open to the public at the time of the touching
  • Any contact aiding an injured minor or a minor in imminent danger of physical harm (such as a struggling swimmer)
  • Separating minors involved in an altercation

Inappropriate Physical Interactions:

  • Striking, hitting, using corporal punishment, or any other punishment involving physical pain or discomfort
  • Hugging with full body contact
  • Kissing
  • Sitting on someone's lap (for those above preschool age)
  • Wrestling
  • Carrying a minor or giving a piggyback ride
  • Tickling
  • Massages or rubs
  • Touching on the bottom, waist, chest, or genital area (unless changing diapers)
  • Any physical expressions of affection
  • Sexual contact of any kind
  • Staring at a minor's body
  • Any intended affection unwanted by the minor

Appropriate Verbal Interactions:

  • Praise (e.g.: "Well done!" or "Keep up the good work!")
  • Encouragement (e.g.: "You can do it!")
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Asking broad questions about a minor's day or weekend
  • Using language that is supportive and positive
  • Age-appropriate conversations
  • Appropriate jokes

Inappropriate Verbal Interactions:

  • Calling someone names
  • Adults discussing personal relationships or relationship problems with a minor
  • Asking a minor to keep a secret
  • Cursing
  • Discriminatory or sexual jokes
  • Shaming or belittling someone
  • Harsh language that may frighten, threaten, or humiliate
  • Negative remarks about a minor or their family
  • Commenting on or complimenting a person's body or body development
  • Showing special attention to one child

Compliance:

Note that programs found to have violated the compliance elements of this policy may be subject to a delay in program start, removal of authorized persons from positions which include interaction with minors, cancellation of the program, or revocation of the ability to hold such programs in the future. Student organizations found to be noncompliant with this policy also risk the loss of organizational funding and/or recognition from Campus Activities and Sorority & Fraternity Life. Some violations of the Standards of Behavior for Working with Youth are also violation of New York State law.