In the university's ongoing effort to ensure compliance with its policies as well as state and federal law, Lehigh engaged Baker Tilly US, LLP, to conduct an audit of certain practices. In the course of this audit, the firm provided a report recommending a number of actions the university should take with regard to its Protection of Minors Policy.
Among the key recommendations of the audit were:
- Formation of a Protection of Minors committee
- Review and update of the Protection of Minors Policy to ensure the policy and Lehigh’s practices were in alignment
- Improved communication of the policy and its requirements to all Lehigh staff, faculty, student workers and any third parties who conduct programs involving minors on Lehigh’s campus
- Improved compliance tracking
Progress To Date
The recommendations from the audit have now been accomplished:
- The Protection of Minors Committee formed this spring and has spent the summer reviewing and updating the Protection of Minors Policy with guidance from an outside expert.
- The updated policy is now part of a new robust website containing complete and centralized information on the requirements and procedures involved in working with minors on Lehigh’s campus.
- There is a new, streamlined program registration process with centralized recordkeeping via DocuSign. The registration process is a requirement of any program involving minors on Lehigh’s campus.
- To improve communications between the committee and those seeking to host or present programs involving minors, a central email address to contact members of the Protection of Minors Committee with questions was created: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Shared Obligation to Protecting Minors
The protection of minors on Lehigh's campus is the responsibility of the entire Lehigh community. The new website contains the information and links needed for each of us to fulfill our individual obligation. As a reminder, faculty, staff, and student workers coming into contact with minors are considered mandated reporters with a duty to report child abuse. We are all required to do the following:
- Undergo criminal background checks required by Pennsylvania law (to be renewed every five years)
- Complete the interactive video training Protecting Children: Identifying and Reporting Sexual Misconduct, available on the Protection of Minors website.
Faculty and staff who are directly or indirectly responsible for running programs involving minors must also adhere to additional requirements. Anyone considering developing such a program should consult the section of the website dedicated to program directors.
Inviting young people to our campus for cultural, athletic, and academic experiences is one way Lehigh makes a positive impact in our community. It is up to all of us to individually do our part to ensure that our campus environment is a safe and welcoming place for the next generation.