So I just received the following email at work:
As shown by the news of the past year, abuse of children continues to be a terrible societal problem that unfortunately extends to colleges and universities. We all share a moral and ethical responsibility to do what we can to help prevent this abuse. In addition, recent laws have broadened the legal requirements for reporting child abuse to the proper authorities.
[Redacted] As of June 7, "administrative, academic and athletic department" employees now have a mandatory duty to report such information directly to law enforcement or the Department of Social and Health Services. In being assigned this legal responsibility, these employees join K-12 teachers and healthcare professionals, who have long had this mandatory duty to report. All other higher ed employees are required to report suspected abuse to designated supervisors within 48 hours.
Over the summer, we will be working on formal policies to add details to the [Redacted] implementation of this new law and help define the various categories of employees. In the meantime, it is important to know that if you become aware of suspected child abuse you need to come forward and report it. For those employees with a mandatory duty to file direct reports, contact information for police and DSHS is listed below. For all other employees, you should report any suspected abuse to your dean, chancellor, or department head, pending adoption of more detailed policies.
Thank you for your attention to this.
Bold/emphasis is mine. So, things are getting a little better defined as places look at current laws and adjust. I'm a little disheartened that there is a clarification in the law that mandatory reporting only applies to a certain group of people and not everyone. Technically by my job definition I'm still supposed to report anything to HR. But, I guess some progress is better than no progress.
And please, keep shit civil in the comments. I didn't post this to start any debates, just wanted to throw out info for what is happening across the nation in higher ed because of this.
Update: To clarify a bit since it was asked, some different scenarios on who should report to whom.
- ANY athletic personel: Reports directly to the authorities, regardless of chain of command.
- ANY teacher, or person in a teaching role, reports directly to authorities.
ANY person in an administrative role, such as a Dean, HR, VP, Director, Department head, reports directly to authorities.
- Anyone else, reports to your immediate supervisor, and the head of HR for your department. I work in IT for a department, so I would tell my manager, and the HR manager for my department. She would be responsible for contacting the authorities, plus whatever else she does for the school.
- There are a couple weird overlaps that I'm not entirely sure of yet, such as research professors and whatnot. But the main point is, under the new law: Mike McQuerey would have reported directly to the police or DSHS. Joe Paterno would have reported directly. Tim Curley would have reported directly. Schultz would have reported directly. Spanier would have reported directly. The Janitor would have gone to HR.