University counsel Paul Tanaka presented an overview of campus child protection initiatives at the May 3 Professional and Scientific Council meeting. Tanaka highlighted Iowa State's policies both prior to and following the child sexual abuse scandal involving former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky and his children's charity (The Second Mile).
"I'd say we're in pretty good shape," Tanaka said. "I believe we're better off than any other higher education institution in this state."
Tanaka listed several measures already in place prior to the Sandusky indictment last November, including:
- 4-H background screenings since 1997
- A reporting responsibility policy adopted in 2005
- A violence-free campus policy adopted in 2007
- An employment verification background check policy adopted in 2009
- A "children in the workplace" policy adopted in 2009
Tanaka said the Iowa Legislature passed reporting requirements for institutions of higher education this year. The statute deals with reporting physical and sexual abuse, not all child abuse (such as neglect and psychological), which is covered by trained mandatory reporters.
A task force has been coordinating a review of ISU policies to meet the legislative requirements, including continued work on previously initiated policies. Three policies currently are in development, including:
- Youth camps and pre-collegiate programs
- Violence-free campus (PDF)
- Reporting responsibility - violations (PDF)
"Essentially, what we have done for the reporting piece is that if you are aware of physical or sexual abuse of a child, report it to the police. It's that simple," Tanaka said.