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Cornell University's commitment to programs involving youth is fundamental to its mission of educating the next generation of global citizens. Central to this commitment is the establishment of a Protection of Minors policy that ensures a safe and quality experience for youth participating in Cornell-affiliated events, activities and programs. 

The outreach work your student organization conducts is significant and meaningful, enriching the lives of the children you serve and fostering leadership skills among the members of your organization. 

From everyone in the CYS Office, thank you for your commitment to helping keep children safe.


The Protection of Minors policy establishes standards and procedures to ensure the safety of minors involved in University-affiliated programs and activities. 

All members of student organizations working with minors are required to adhere to the following guidelines:

Background Checks: All students who work with minors are required by University policy to undergo a background check annually. This background check includes a criminal background check and sex offender registry search.

Training: All students who work with minors are required by University policy to complete training in youth protection practices including preventing, recognizing, and responding to abuse annually.

Standards of Behavior: All students who work with minors are required by University policy to adhere to the Standards of Behavior for Working with Youth. Students will read and attest that they will follow these standards annually.

Supervision: All students who work with minors are required to adhere to the University's supervision guidelines. These guidelines help ensure minors are free from the threat of harm from their peers in addition to other forms of harm.

Reporting: All students who work with minors are required by University policy to report any known or suspected abuse, misconduct, or maltreatment.

Procedures for Officers of Independent Student Organizations:

Procedures for Program Directors for ON-CAMPUS Programs:

  1. Register (or re-register) your student organization. 
  2. Contact the CYS office at youthprogramadministrator@cornell.edu to schedule a meeting to discuss the structure of the youth programming you will be engaging in. CYS staff will discuss policy requirements and safety considerations for your program.
  3. At least one officer must attend the Youth Safety Leadership Workshop.
  4. Educate the members of your organization about the requirements to work with minors, including background checks, training, and behavioral standards
  5. Register your program(s) with CYS' Ideal-Logic registration system. The system will tell you the minimum number of adults needed to run your program and comply with Cornell's supervision requirements.
  6. Monitor org member compliance within Ideal-Logic. A green check mark indicates the member is compliant; a red X indicates non-compliance. Remember that Policy 8.8 The Protection of Minors and Abuse Reporting  requires that all individuals who have direct contact with youth to be compliant with all policy components prior to engaging with youth.
  7. You will need to request a consent form in any of the following scenarios:
    1. Your org will be responsible for the supervision of the youth (custodial care).
    2. Youth participants will be visiting areas of the University that are not open to the public.
    3. Youth participants will be participating in hands-on activities in labs, shops, studios, or athletic facilities.
    4. Cornell is providing transportation for the event/program.
    5. If you plan to take photo or video of the youth participants.

These consent forms must be uploaded to the Ideal-Logic registration system.

Additional Procedures for Programs with Custodial Care of Minors:

If your program has custodial care over minors (i.e.: there are no parents/guardians, teachers, Scout leaders, or other chaperones providing supervision of the minors you must follow these additional steps:

  1. When distributing information about your program to participants and their families, you must make available behavioral expectations for the youth participants. This information must also include multiple ways that youth and families can report safety concerns or boundary-crossing behavior.
  2. You must develop a safety plan to ensure the safety of the youth participants in emergency situations. This safety plan must be uploaded to the Ideal-Logic registration system.
  3. You must develop check-in/check-out procedures for your program. This ensures appropriate documentation of when youth are in Cornell's custodial care and when they are not and ensures youth are only released to the appropriate adult.  

Procedures for Independent Organizations Working with Minors OFF-CAMPUS:

A registered independent student organization that has received permission to use the name “Cornell” in its name must accurately represent its status as separate from the university and use the Cornell name solely in a locational sense in all official contexts, including in the formal name of the organization and when entering into legally binding agreements, or signing other official documents.

Independent student organizations who work with minors off-campus are doing so separate from and unaffiliated with the University, and so Policy 8.8 The Protection of Minors and Abuse Reporting does not apply to the program. 

EOs are expected to follow any and all youth protection policies and procedures promulgated by the community organization. This may include background checks and/or training.

If at any point the EO changes the structure of the program to bring youth onto Cornell University premises, the steps for bringing minors to campus must be followed.

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.

Contact CYS with questions or concerns at any time!