Student Handbook: Minors Policy

Please Note: This is the current policy. The updated policy for 2022-2023 will be posted soon.

Fordham University is committed to providing a safe environment for all members of its community, including its students, faculty, staff, guests, volunteers and participants in all of its programs.  This Policy is directed to those in the Fordham University community who may work or interact with minors, with the goal of providing for their safety and well-being while on campus.   In furtherance of this goal, the University has developed a number of policies and procedures governing the screening, training, and oversight of individuals who are directly responsible for minors who are participating in activities on campus.

The purpose of this policy is to express to all members of the Fordham Community that each of us, regardless of our particular responsibilities, must act appropriately and maintain proper boundaries in our contact with minors, and must also promptly report any instances where the health, safety, and well-being of a minor may be threatened.

Standards of Appropriate Adult Conduct When Interacting with Minors on Campus
The important task of protecting minors on campus involves maintaining proper boundaries at all times. Individuals interacting  with minors must be mindful of what is and is not appropriate conduct, and must exercise discretion in their interactions at all times and avoid questionable situations. Minors are impressionable and we are expected to set and maintain appropriate boundaries in all circumstances.

While it is impossible to describe all standards of appropriate behavior towards minors, these general guidelines must be followed in interactions with Minors on campus:

  • Minors should be supervised at all times by a responsible adult while on campus. 
  • One on one contact with minors should be avoided where practical/possible; if possible, there should be two or more responsible adults present at all times in all activities with minors. If an activity requires one-on-one interaction (such as tutoring), efforts should be made to conduct such interactions in an open area, in open view of others. Interactions with Minors behind closed doors, out of view of others, should be avoided.
  • Physical contact with minors must be limited and appropriate, and avoided if possible.
  • Good judgment and discretion must be exercised in bathrooms, locker rooms, and other similar areas with minors. Use great care in communicating with minors; avoid critical language and use discretion when offering praise. Be mindful of responsibilities as a role model.
  • Refrain from communicating with minors via email, text messages, or in any social media unless there is a clear educational purpose.
  • Do not photograph, video, or otherwise record minors. 
  • Do not provide to minors and/or engage in the use of alcohol or illegal drugs, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs during the program or activity.
  • Avoid inappropriate language or content such as sexually suggestive remarks, violent references, or share adult-themed materials.

Reporting Duties
Members of the Fordham University community have a duty to report immediately to the University’s Department of Public Safety if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment of any minor.

Child abuse, defined under New York law, includes physical abuse, physical neglect, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. Maltreatment (including neglect) is the impairment of a minor’s physical, mental, or emotional condition, or is when the threat of such impairment is present due to the failure of the parent or legal guardian to exercise a minimum degree of care. Failure to provide sufficient food, clothing, shelter education; or proper supervision, guardianship, or medical care; or inflicting excessive corporal punishment, abandonment, or misusing alcohol or other drugs to the extent Minor was placed in imminent danger all constitute maltreatment.

Other behaviors towards minors may not give rise to charges of abuse or neglect but may constitute inappropriate behavior under this Policy.  Members of the Fordham University community should also share these concerns with the University’s Department of Public Safety.

If a minor on campus is in immediate danger or requires immediate assistance, call the University’s Department of Public Safety at 718-817-2222 and then call 911.

If there is suspected abuse or maltreatment of a Minor on campus, contact the University’s Department of Public Safety at 718-817-2222, and call the New York State Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline at 800-342-3720.

Fordham University will not tolerate retaliation against individuals who report concerns in good faith. Community members who willfully fail to report a case of suspected child abuse or neglect will be subject to disciplinary action.

Updated: August 25, 2019