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    August 2019

    Minors as Visitors in Campus Housing

    From “Little Siblings Weekend” to prospective student visits, children under age 18 occasionally visit and stay overnight in college and university housing. United Educators’ claims show that visiting minors have been injured due to slips and falls, alcohol use, sexual assaults, and physical assaults. Institutions can prevent many of these incidents by adopting and enforcing policies and procedures to educate host students and emphasize safety. In addition, mandatory application and permission forms enable institutions to better respond when an incident occurs.

    • Create a policy. Housing policies should state the rules and requirements for having minor guests in all institution-owned housing — including dorms, apartments, and townhouses — without a parent or legal guardian present. Policies should address visiting hours, the maximum lengths of visits, and whether overnight stays are allowed. Many colleges limit visits to three consecutive nights and prohibit visitors during breaks when classes are not in session. Some institutions also require a familial relation and other institutions set a minimum age requirement, such as 13 or 16, to help ensure that guests are mature enough to have a safe visit.

      The policy should clearly describe the process for approving minor visitors and state that students are responsible for their guests and must accompany them at all times. The policy should spell out host responsibilities and any disciplinary action that will occur if the policy is violated. The policy also should explain that all campus policies must be followed during the visit and that the student will obtain the approval of all roommates before a minor guest’s stay.

    • Require guest permission forms. Guest application and permission forms help ensure that necessary information is obtained for all visitors in residence halls. The application for minors should include emergency contact information for the parent or guardian, known medical conditions, and dates of the stay. The host student and the minor’s parent/legal guardian should sign the form. In addition, the form should require the parent/guardian to acknowledge the college’s expectations that the minor will abide by college policies and local, state, and federal laws, and that visitation privileges may be revoked at any time without notice. Further, the form should state that the parent or guardian agrees to pick up the minor if the college or host student request it.

      To ensure adequate time for review and planning by residence hall and security staff, the forms should be completed and signed several days before the visit. If guests have photo identification such as a driver’s license or school ID, they should bring it to campus.

    • Notify necessary campus officials. After the college housing director or designee approves the application, that employee should provide notice of the visit and documentation to campus security and the residence hall director and staff where the guest will be staying. Early and complete notification will prepare campus officials for potential problem situations and enable quick access to emergency contact information.

    Resources

    Barnard College: Minor Permission Form

    Virginia Commonwealth University: Guest Policy

    Tulane University: Parental/Guardian Consent & Medical Release Form


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