What’s New

CHANGES TO UW SYSTEM OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE: President Tommy G. Thompson sent a memo to UW System Chancellors announcing changes to UW System’s Office of Compliance and Integrity to enhance systemwide protection of precollege youth, our faculty and staff, and our students.

NEW UWSA DIRECTOR OF YOUTH PROTECTION AND COMPLIANCE: Prenicia Clifton recently joined UWSA as the Director of Youth Protection and Compliance. She will work with UW System Precollege Liaisons, program directors, and youth program coordinators to support the implementation of training, safe oversight of minors, policies, and standards for youth protection and compliance. Prenicia previously served as UW-Madison’s Director of the Office of Youth Protection and Compliance.

PRECOLLEGE POLICY UPDATE:  All campuses have been solicited for input on the draft policy.  Feedback from UW System campuses was compiled and is being reviewed to make modifications in the policy when possible. In February the draft policy will be submitted to UW System leadership for additional comments.

Precollege Policy Development

UW System institutions host thousands of minors on campuses each year in their precollege programs and youth activities. While these minors are on campus, their safety is the UW System’s top priority. UW System will develop a Board of Regents policy and a System policy that institutions must adhere to in order to protect minors who participate in these activities. Every UW System institution will be expected to comply with the new policy.

UW System  institutions offer hundreds of academic and recreational precollege programs and activities to youth ages 5-18, such as college and career exploration, academic skill-building, and academic and personal enrichment in the arts, sports, leadership, and STEM Historically, individual UW System institutions, colleges, and divisions have each operated their programs independently, taking responsibility for all aspects of activity operations from recruitment to setting activity agendas to compliance with all university policies and procedures (as well as state and federal regulations).

The project will ensure that each institution has the proper protections to provide a safe environment for minors that participate in precollege and youth programs on our campuses. This includes the responsibility to ensure that:

  • Proper supervision and safety plans are in place
  • Staff and volunteers with these programs are properly screened and trained
  • Mechanisms are in place to report concerns of inappropriate or suspicious behavior, child abuse or neglect, minor-to-minor sexualized behaviors and abuse, and sexual harassment and sexual violence
  • Adequate insurance coverage exists for program participants
  • Participants’ personal information and data is protected
  • Third party hosts of programs with minors on campus properly adhere to all applicable requirements

Overview

  • UW System President Ray Cross is sponsoring an initiative to develop and implement a Board of Regents and UW System policy to protect minors who participate in precollege program and youth activities on campuses
  • UW System is using the expertise of UW-Madison’s Office of Precollege/Youth Programming & Compliance in the Division of Continuing Studies for guidance on establishing a systemwide policy
  • Systemwide working groups will convene over the spring and summer of 2020 to conduct an assessment of the current state of compliance and provide input on the system policy
  • The main driver of this initiative is ensuring the safety of the youth in our care

Where We Are Now

  • Individual UW System institutions, colleges, and divisions operate programs under separate policies with varying definitions and standards for compliance. 
  • These policies may be limited to certain types of precollege or youth programs but not capture the full scope of activities in which the university assumes custodial care for minors, including commuter or day programs, field trips, and other activities.
  • These policies may require training on how to report incidents but not fully address training on prevention related matters.

Where We Want to Go 

  • A single comprehensive system policy that establishes a uniform definition for “precollege and youth activities” and sets forth minimum standards for compliance all UW System institutions must adhere to in order to protect minors who participate in campus these programs or activities. This policy will aim to ensure that, at a minimum:
    • Proper supervision and safety plans are in place
    • Staff and volunteers are properly screened and trained
    • Mechanisms are in place to report concerns of inappropriate or suspicious behavior, child abuse or neglect, minor-to-minor sexualized behaviors and abuse, and sexual harassment and sexual violence
    • Adequate insurance coverage exists for program participants
    • Participants’ personal information and data is protected
    • Third party hosts of programs with minors on campus properly adhere to all applicable requirements
  • A safe environment for employees, volunteers, and most importantly, youth participants

The Project Timeline has been extended by approximately three months. Because of the demands that COVID-19 is having on campuses and staff, all phases of the project have been extended to give everyone more time to manage their current work and campus needs, and then resume focus on this important project.

Precollege Policy Project Timeline 1.20.2021