August 2018 - The article, "Protecting children on college campuses," by Scott H. Christensen, was first published in University Business and is used by permission.
When we think of the students served by institutions of higher education, we usually think of young adults the age of undergraduate and graduate students. But colleges and universities often offer programs to children and adolescents under the age of eighteen and as young as pre-kindergarten. These children and adolescents are more vulnerable than older students to sexual misconduct and are less likely to speak up if they are victims. The law also provides different reporting requirements, redress, and timelines for minors with legal claims. The biggest risk to colleges and universities at the moment is that their usual policies for dealing with students conflict with mandatory reporting laws in many states. The convergence of a few uncomfortable facts and recent developments serve as reminders to higher education to protect children and adolescents on campus or in school-sponsored programs.