Health and Safety of Minors Policy

Responsible Senior Staff Member: Vice President for Finance and Administration   
Responsible Office: Finance and Administration           
Date Established: 03/09/2020
Drafted By: Health and Safety of Minors Project Team
Date Last Revised: n/a

Policy Statement

Hampshire College is committed to creating an environment that is safe and secure in all of our College Sponsored Programs (“Programs”), services and activities, including those that are geared towards Minorspersons under 18 years of age. Hampshire has zero tolerance for the mistreatment or abuse of Minors in its Programs. The purpose of this Policy is to promote the safety of Minors engaged with Hampshire by creating specific standards to register all Programs involving Minors, to properly screen and train all authorized Program staff and to outline specific policies and protocols. In addition, this Policy establishes the expectations and reporting mechanisms that should be followed when concerns arise.

Scope / Responsibilities

This Policy applies to any Program, activity or service involving Minors that occurs on College property, at off campus Hampshire events and activities, and at any Hampshire College-sponsored Program, activity, or service involving Minors, wherever it occurs.

Exclusions: This Policy and its procedures do not apply to:

  1. events, services or activities open to the general public where parents or guardians are expected to attend and appropriately supervise the Minor or Minors in their care; or
  2. Early Learning Center, as they are required to comply with state standards


Authorized Adult: a person 18 years of age or older who supervises, teaches, counsels, volunteers or otherwise works with Minors participating in a Program. The term Authorized Adult does not include a person whose only role is to make a presentation to a group of Minors who are under the supervision of another adult at the time of the presentation.

Child Abuse: the endangerment of a Minor’s physical or mental health due to injury by act or omission, including acts of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and economic exploitation. For more detailed information regarding the definitions of “abuse,” “neglect,” “exploitation,” “abandonment,” and related terms under Massachusetts law, please refer to the definitions of abuse and neglect, utilized by the Massachusetts  Department of Children and Families, and associated state-mandated reporting requirements.

College Sponsored Program (“Program”): any activity, event, recital, lesson, class, camp, or other interaction intended for Minors, including, but not limited to Programs paid for, organized by, or operated in whole or in part by the College, on or off campus.

Minor or Child: a person under 18 years of age, who is not an enrolled Hampshire student.

Program Manager: a College community member who has been identified as a primary leader within a College Sponsored Program. Each Program is required to identify a Program Manager.

Prohibited Conduct

Under this Policy, no Program Manager, Authorized Adult, volunteer or any other Hampshire employee, student or volunteer shall engage in any of the following behavior with a Minor:

  1. Engage in Discrimination or Harassment. The College does not tolerate any discrimination or harassment involving Minors participating in Programs, services or activities, on the basis of a Minor’s age (except as permitted by legitimate Program requirements), color, creed, disability, gender identity, national/ethnic origin, race, religion, sex (except as permitted by legitimate Program requirements), or sexual orientation.

  2. Use cell phones, cameras, imaging, or digital devices in an inappropriate way.  Use of a device capable of recording or transmitting visual images in locker rooms, restrooms, or other areas where privacy is expected by participants is strictly prohibited.

  3. Meet with Minors outside of established times for Program activities including but not limited to visiting a minor at their home, hosting a minor in an Authorized Adult’s home, transporting the minor in a personal vehicle, etc.

  4. Touch Minors in a manner that a reasonable person could interpret as inappropriate.

  5. Engage in abusive conduct of any kind toward a Minor, including but not limited to verbal abuse, striking, hitting, punching, poking, spanking, tickling, kissing, full-frontal hugs, lap sitting, wrestling, piggyback rides, touching of bottom, chest or genital areas, massaging, masturbating, restraining or engaging in any physical act of affection that is unwanted by the minor.

  6. Shower, bath, or undress with or in the presence of Minors.

  7. Share a bed or sleeping bag with a Minor.

  8. Use, possess, and/or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, provide any of the same to any Minor.

  9. Be alone in a vehicle with a Minor at any time. 

  10. Have direct electronic contact with Minors outside of professional communication without another person included in the communication. This includes but is not limited to telephone, social media, text, in-game chat and email.

  11. Make sexual materials in any form available to Minors participating in Programs or activities or assist them in any way in gaining access to such materials.

  12. Seek out Minor Program participants or accept invitations to connect on social media or gaming platforms including but not limited to Facebook, Instagram, X-box, Twitter, etc.

  13. Leave a Minor in the care of a person who is not an Authorized Adult.


As set forth in further detail below, prior to the occurrence of any College Sponsored Program, the Program Manager or the Program Manager’s designee must:

  1. Register the Program through the Five College Portal at least 21 calendar days prior to the start of the event;  

  2. Screen and select Authorized Adults who will participate in the Program; and 

  3. Verify that all Authorized Adults who will participate in the Program have completed the required training. 

Programs are not permitted if the proceeding steps have not occurred:

I. Registration

Each Program Manager must register the Program through the Five College Portal by completing an event registration form at least 21 calendar days prior to the start of the Program.

II. Screening and Selection

All Programs must adhere to screening and selection criteria required by the College. The College may conduct a background screening on any Authorized Adult at any time after employment or volunteer services has begun.
All Authorized Adults with any access to Minors are required to complete the following every three (3) years:

  1. A multi-state criminal background check (CORI) that includes county-level information; and

  2. A national sex offender registry check (SORI).

Once a Program Manager registers the Program through the Five College Portal, Five College Risk Management Office will conduct necessary background checks.

Questions and concerns about the process or information gathered through screening should be directed to the Five College Director of Risk Management.

If an individual has been authorized to participate in one Program and wishes to participate in an additional Program, the Program Manager for the additional Program must contact the Five College Office of Risk Management to verify eligibility.

III. Training

Once every three years, all Authorized Adults must complete two training modules:

  1. a policy training course; and
  2. a child abuse prevention training.

    Additional training modules may be assigned as needed by the Program Manager and in consultation with Five College Risk Management.

All training will be administered through the Five College Portal.

Expectation to Report Suspected Violations

The College does not condone Child Abuse, and will take prompt action upon receiving any report of suspected Child Abuse. The College encourages all community members to report suspected violations of this policy, inappropriate or suspicious behaviors that may not rise to the level of abuse, Minor-to-Minor sexualized behaviors and abuse or behaviors that could be perceived as sexualized or abusive, and suspected child abuse and neglect.

All Authorized Adults and employees are obligated to report suspected violations of this policy, inappropriate or suspicious behaviors that may not rise to the level of abuse, Minor-to-Minor sexualized behaviors and abuse, and suspected child abuse and neglect. Notifications to the College should be made through the College’s online incident reporting form or directly to the Hampshire College Campus Safety and Wellbeing. The College will review and conduct an assessment of all reports.

The internal reporting obligations under this policy exist in addition to any reporting obligation mandated by state law. For greater clarity: if an individual has a reporting obligation under both this policy and applicable law, that individual must make both reports. Failure of an employee to make an internal or external report under this policy may result in criminal and/or disciplinary actions.

Assessment, Investigation, and Resolution

The College will address all reports of suspected Child Abuse. In all instances, the College will—at a minimum—conduct an initial assessment of the report. The initial assessment will include a determination of any immediate, emergency, and / or interim steps that should be taken to reduce the risk of harm to individuals or to the campus community pending final resolution of the matter. The safety and well-being of the affected Minor(s) will be given priority when determining any such interim steps.

If a report contains allegations that would constitute Child Abuse, the College will refer the matter to law enforcement.

If a report contains violations of this Policy, the College will undertake an investigation into the matter. The investigation will follow applicable procedures, if any, within the Norms for Community Living and Policies, Faculty Handbook, and Employee Policy Manual, if applicable. Unless appropriate College personnel are specifically instructed otherwise by law enforcement, the College will conduct its assessment and review regardless of whether a criminal investigation is also pending. In the event that the College is directed by law enforcement not to pursue an internal investigation, the College will continue to fully cooperate with the law enforcement investigation.

Violations and Sanctions

Violations of College policies by students, faculty, and staff are adjudicated according to the procedures outlined in the Norms for Community Living and Policies, the Faculty Handbook, and the Employee Policy Manual, respectively, with disciplinary consequences imposed by the adjudicating authority up to and including dismissal from the College or termination of employment. Conduct that violates local, state, federal, or otherwise applicable laws, statutes, regulations, codes, or ordinances, domestically or internationally, may be punishable under those laws.

Statement of Non-Retaliation

Harassment and retaliation (including, but not limited to adverse employment consequences) of or against any person who, in good faith, reports a suspected violation of law or College policy is prohibited.  Any person who retaliates against someone who has reported a suspected violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.  Any employee who believes that they have been retaliated against after making a good faith report is encouraged to report the alleged retaliation.

Related Information

Related Policies:

Sexual and Romantic Relationship Policy
Gender Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy - student handbook
Sexual Harassment Policy - staff handbook
Sexual Harassment Policy - faculty legislation