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Policy on Safety and Well Being of Minors

If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect

In case of any emergency, dial 911 immediately.

In addition, you must:

1. Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline for reporting child abuse and neglect: 800-792-5200

2. Call the Smith College Department of Campus Safety: 413-585-2490

Read more on reporting child abuse

Five College Child Safety Certification

Get certified to work with children on the Smith College campus using the Five College Child Safety Certification website.

Established: April 13, 2015 by the President and Cabinet

Revised: December 13, 2022

Office/Administrator Responsible:  Finance and Administration; Vice President of Finance and Administration

Important: To report suspected child abuse and neglect in MA, call 1-800-792-5200. This is a 24-hour number. Read more about this help line.


Smith College (Smith) is committed to safeguarding all minors involved in our programs and on our campus. The following policy provides direction to employees, students and volunteers about expected codes of behavior and is intended to ensure that child protection concerns are appropriately addressed.


This policy applies to: (1) any Program, activity, or service involving Minors that occurs on any College property and (2) any College Sponsored Program, activity, or service involving Minors, wherever it occurs.


The requirements set forth in this policy 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;
  2. Courses in which Minors are enrolled
  3. Overnight admission events, including those associated with athletics; or
  4. Smith College Center for Early Childhood Education or Campus School of Smith College as they are required to comply with state laws and regulations.

Coverage Guidelines

Policy Purpose

This policy creates specific standards to register all programs involving Minors, to properly screen and train all authorized program staff, and to outline specific policies and protocols. This policy also formalizes expectations and reporting mechanisms that are to be followed when instances of abuse and/or policy violations are suspected.

General Definitions

For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

A. 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.

B. 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.

C. 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.

D. Minor

A person under the age of 18 who is not enrolled as a student at Smith College. Minor does not include individuals who accept admission to Smith College and submit a tuition deposit. In the event of a conflict with this definition and any other definition of Minor in other Smith College policies this definition supersedes any other definition.

E. Program Manager

A College employee who has been identified as a primary leader within a College Sponsored Program. Each Program is required to identify a Program Manager.

Activity Approval Process

A. Registration

Each Program Manager must register the Program and receive approval by completing the procedures outlined by the College.

B. 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 service 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; and
  2. A national sex offender registry check (SORI).
  3. Additionally, all students may be screened by the College’s Title IX Coordinator or their designee along with Student Affairs for pending investigations or prior conduct violations related to suitability to work with minors.

C. Training

Once every three years, all Authorized Adults must complete a policy and child abuse prevention training. Additional training modules may be assigned as needed.

Prohibited Conduct

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

  1. Have one-on-one contact with Minors. There must be at least: two (2) adults and one Minor or two (2) Minors and one adult present (The Rule of Three). The only exceptions to this rule are as follows:
    1. There is a familial or legal guardian relationship between the adult and the Minor.
    2. There are prospective students participating in pre-enrollment overnight visitation through Admissions or Athletics with a Smith College student host who is an Authorized Adult.
    3. There are prospective students participating in an admission program or event with an Authorized Adult, including interviews and information sessions conducted online.
    4. In-person admissions, recruiting, instructional and research settings where one-on- one interaction must occur, or may occur unexpectedly. In such settings, free access by other Authorized Adults to and from any space must be maintained at all times. Examples of methods to achieve free access include: using no window or door coverings that would restrict or eliminate visibility into the room and ensuring doors that are used to enter and exit the space are unlocked and accessible.
    5. Emergency Exception: The prohibition of one-on-one contact identified in this Policy may be temporarily suspended if an emergency situation warrants it (e.g., one adult accompanies a Minor to the emergency room, summons law enforcement, or searches for a missing Minor).
  2. Engage in Discrimination or Harassment. The College does not tolerate any discrimination or harassment involving Minors participation in Programs, services or activities, as set forth in the College’s Equal Opportunity Policies.
  3. Use cell phones, cameras, imaging, or digital devices in a manner inconsistent with state or federal law or College policy or that is inconsistent with reasonable privacy expectations given the context of the environment. 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.
  4. Meet with Minors outside of established times for Program activities including but not limited to visiting a youth at their home, hosting a youth in an Authorized Adult’s home, transporting the youth in a personal vehicle, etc.
  5. Touch Minors in a manner that a reasonable person could interpret as inappropriate. This includes, but is not limited to, behavior prohibited by the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  6. 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, and restraining.
  7. Engage in physical contact that is unwanted by the Minor.
  8. Shower, bathe, or undress with or in the presence of Minors.
  9. Share a bed or sleeping bag with a Minor.
  10. Use, possess, and/or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, provide any of the same to any Minor.
  11. Be alone in a vehicle with a Minor at any time, unless in the event of an emergency, as indicated above.
  12. Have direct electronic contact with Minors without another person included in the communication with the exception of current students participating in recruitment activities or an Authorized Adult conducting official college business. All communications with Minors are to occur using means authorized by the College, e.g. a Smith college phone number and a email address.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Leave a Minor in the care of a person who is not an Authorized Adult.

Obligation to Report Suspected Violations

The College does not condone Child Abuse, and will take prompt action upon receiving any report of suspected Child Abuse in its sponsored programs. 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 EthicsPoint or directly to Smith College’s Campus Safety Department. 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 conduct an initial assessment of the report, which 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. Emergency or interim measures, if appropriate, may include interim suspension of an individual's status as an employee or a student or relieving an individual from all responsibilities with minors, pending conclusion of the College’s investigation. 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 the Policy, the College will undertake an investigation into the matter. The investigation will follow applicable procedures, if any, within the Code of Student Conduct, Code of Faculty Governance, and Staff Handbook. This assessment and review will occur regardless of whether a criminal investigation is pending. At the request of law enforcement, the College may make a reasonable delay of its investigation to avoid any conflict with pending criminal investigations.

Violations and Sanctions

Violations of College policies by students, faculty, and staff are adjudicated according to the procedures outlined in the Code of Student Conduct, the Code of Faculty Governance, the Staff Handbook, and the Sexual Misconduct Policy, 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


MA Mandated Reporter


This policy commenced on May 9, 2015, and was revised on December 13, 2022.