TERRE HAUTE – Indiana State University officials are reviewing the schools policies regarding minors on campus in an effort to ensure it is protected from situations such as the child abuse scandal that rocked Penn State University.
A committee led by university Vice President John Beacon is looking at existing policies and procedures and best practices at other universities and will present its findings at the trustees meeting in October, the Tribune-Star reported.
Beacon said the committee asked all university departments to forward their policies and procedures related to protection of minors. A few areas, including education and nursing, require criminal background checks or have other requirements.
But for the most part, he said, It turns out theres not much on record.
Were just vulnerable right now, he told trustees during a recent seminar.
Colleges across the country are grappling with issues of minors on campus after the Penn State scandal, which led to the child molestation conviction of Jerry Sandusky, a retired assistant football coach, and the firings of famed football coach Joe Paterno and top university leaders.
Emails obtained by investigators show that Paterno, Penn State President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz fretted over what to do about Sandusky but failed to act, which allowed the retired defensive coordinator to continue molesting boys.
Beacon said the committee will work to recommend an umbrella university policy that makes it clear that people have a responsibility to report abuse if they see it and spells out legal requirements for doing so.
It also would include training in the new policy.
Training would be required for those people who have regular interaction with minors, he said, but its probably something every employee should take advantage of.
One of the lessons from the Penn State scandal was that people knew but did nothing, Beacon said.
At Indiana State, minors are on campus for reasons such as private lessons and summer camps.
University employees also provide instruction off campus.
Clearly this is an area that deserves and needs our attention, trustee Ed Pease said.
University President Dan Bradley said the top priorities of the policy should be the safety and health of minors on campus and also to outline what needs to happen, legally and otherwise, if an incident occurs.