The university announced a new Protection of Minors Policy this week, stating that the policy will ensure the safety of non-student minors on campus who participate in Georgetown programs or activities.
The policy states that any minor who is 16 or 17 years old may sleep overnight in university housing, provided that they bring a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian. Minors under the age of 16 cannot enter university housing unless accompanied by a parent or guardian and cannot sleep over on campus. If minors come to campus unaccompanied by a parent or guardian and without a signed permission slip, they must report to the Georgetown University Police Department.
Georgetown hosts many programs for minors, which University President John J. DeGioia said will remain active. The policy requires leaders of such programs, including summer programs for high school students, to participate in extensive background checks and training to ensure a safe campus environment.
“Programs and activities that involve minors are integral to Georgetown’s mission and identity,” DeGioia wrote in a statement. “At the core of all of these programs is a commitment to providing a safe environment and a positive experience for all participants.”
Student who are hosting minors may face disciplinary action if they allow their guests to commit a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Hosts are also responsible for ensuring that their guests have submitted permission forms and obtained minor guest passes. Hosts are required to stay with their minor guests at all times.
The policy was developed over the past year with input from various minor program directors, legal entities and peer institutions with similar programs. According to Stephanie Lynch, assistant dean in the Office of Residential Living, the new policy will help make campus more minor-friendly.
“Georgetown University is committed to constantly strengthening our ‘culture of care’ on campus, and an important part of this work is creating a safe environment for minors who spend time here,” Lynch wrote in an email to The Hoya.“The protection of minors is a responsibility that all members of our campus community share, and one that we take very seriously.”
Lynch said that the creation of the policy was also guided by the university’s moral ideals.
“We’ve taken a comprehensive approach to this work, prompted by changing times and situations, and always with an eye towards continuing to uphold the moral principles that have guided us as a Jesuit institution throughout our history,” Lynch wrote.
Sara Carioscia (COL ’17) has three younger siblings aged 17, 14 and 10. Although she hopes her siblings will visit, she believes the policy will effectively provide a safe campus environment for children.
“I don’t dislike the policy,” Carioscia said. “The safety of children is really important so I like knowing that the kids are accounted for.”
Shannon Duffy, the 17-year-old sister of Megan Duffy (COL ’17), said that the stricter policies could make it harder for visitors to get a feel for the campus.
“I feel that this new rule will result in less visitors and ultimately less applicants because many of these potential applicants are under 16 and will not be able to get the whole Georgetown experience,” Duffy said. “It will be harder for my younger sister to visit Megan since she is still 9. She is bummed that she will never be old enough to stay with Megan.”