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Risk Management & Legal Issues for Student Organizations. Student Organization Summit – Fall 2009. Why IS RISK MANAGEMENT TRAINING A GOOD IDEA?. In 2007, the Texas legislature passed a bill mandating risk management training for all student organizations

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risk management legal issues for student organizations

Risk Management & Legal Issues for Student Organizations

Student Organization Summit – Fall 2009

why is risk management training a good idea
Why IS RISK MANAGEMENT TRAINING A GOOD IDEA?
  • In 2007, the Texas legislature passed a bill mandating risk management training for all student organizations
  • Baylor University is legally obligated to provide this training to student organizations
  • The information provided through this training will be beneficial to you and your organization!
risk management legal issues
RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

NEGLIGENCE

  • Occurs when someone has a duty to another person, breaches that duty, and the other person suffers harm as a result
    • Example: You host an event, someone is injured, and it can be proved that the injury was due to your failure to provide safeguards for a known safety risk associated with the activity
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

LIABILITY

  • Refers to legal responsibility. Liability can be assumed by:
    • Your organization
    • Your advisor(s)
    • Your members
    • You – as an individual
    • The University
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

LIABILITY & NEGLIGENCE

  • What can you do to minimize (manage) your risks?
    • Take great care (and document it!) when conducting the event and note all precautions taken
    • Check to see if your organization has insurance & be aware of what is covered
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

LIABILITY & NEGLIGENCE

  • What can you do to minimize (manage) your risks?
    • Produce properly drafted waivers for all participants to sign prior to event
    • Train participants and provide instruction regarding potential dangers associated with your event
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

CONTRACTS

  • Get ALL agreements in writing and have them signed by the proper entities (a.k.a. people!)
  • Ensure that all agreements are complete and accurate – READ every word of every agreement
  • Ensure that agreements/contracts include “what happens if…” provisions
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

CONTRACTS

  • Ensure that you have safeguards in place within your own policies as to who can obligate the organization
  • Do not, under any circumstances, represent to third parties that you represent Baylor University
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ORGANIZATIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • What is considered an organizational activity and/or event?
    • The Department of Student Activities recognizes events and activities that meet any or all of the following criteria as being student organizational activities:
      • Events or activities paid for by student organizational funds;
      • Events or activities approved by the Department of Student Activities via the Online Event Registration Form;
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ORGANIZATIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • What is considered an organizational activity and/or event?
    • The Department of Student Activities recognizes events and activities that meet any or all of the following criteria as being student organizational activities:
      • Events or activities that use the Baylor University name or trademarks in the event or activity advertising and/or marketing;
      • Events or activities which serve as recruitment activities for the student organization
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ORGANIZATIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • What is considered an organizational activity and/or event?
    • It is important to understand that when dealing with allegations of student organization violations, the University defines a "university-related activity" as follows:  
      • A "university-related activity" is any activity sponsored by the University or by any organization recognized by the University.
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ORGANIZATIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • What is considered an organizational activity and/or event?
    • The degree to which an organization is responsible for the activity of its members is not necessarily dependent upon the number of members engaging in the activity, but depends upon whether the activity is related to the organization as described in the two categories listed below. Student organizations may be held responsible for the acts of individual members:
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ORGANIZATIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • What is considered an organizational activity and/or event?
      • when the acts grow out of, or are directly related to, the student organization's activities or an environment created or knowingly permitted by the organization; or
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ORGANIZATIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • What is considered an organizational activity and/or event?
      • when a member of an organization is violating local, state, or federal law or University regulations and other members present, by failing to discourage such activity, tacitly condone the behavior. In addition to the group being held responsible, members and officers may also be held responsible as individuals for their roles in any violation of University policy.
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ORGANIZATIONAL ACTIVITIES and MEMBER BEHAVIOR

  • It is critical to understand that the organization and its leaders can be held responsible for member behavior at organizational activities and events
    • Clearly articulate to members the organization’s and University’s expectations for behavior
    • Help members understand that their behavior reflects on the organization and University
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

TRAVEL FOR ORGANIZATIONAL BUSINESS and/or EVENTS

  • Baylor University travel policy supersedes organizational travel policy (including national and/or regional affiliate policies) except when an organization’s policy is more restrictive than the Baylor University travel policy.
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

TRAVEL FOR ORGANIZATIONAL BUSINESS and/or EVENTS

  • Students traveling for organizational business and/or events may use the following chart to determine the appropriate form of transportation necessary:
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ALCOHOL & ILLEGAL DRUG OFFENSES

  • One of the most predominant judicial issues we face at Baylor is violations of the institution’s alcohol policies and violations of state and federal law related to underage alcohol consumption
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ALCOHOL & ILLEGAL DRUG OFFENSES

  • For minors who purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages, etc., penalties include:
    • Class C misdemeanor, including fines up to $500
    • Alcohol awareness classes
    • 8-40 hours of community service
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ALCOHOL & ILLEGAL DRUG OFFENSES

  • For minors who purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages, etc., penalties include:
    • University sanctions may include suspension, expulsion, mandatory alcohol awareness training, loss of organizational membership, etc.
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ALCOHOL & ILLEGAL DRUG OFFENSES

  • For adults and minors who sell or make alcohol available to a minor, penalties include:
    • Class A misdemeanor, including fines up to $4,000 and/or jail time for up to one (1) year
    • Automatic suspension of driver’s license for 180 days
    • University sanctions may include suspension, expulsion, mandatory alcohol awareness training, loss of organizational membership, etc.
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ALCOHOL & ILLEGAL DRUG OFFENSES

  • What Can You Do?
    • Have written policies consistent with the law and Baylor’s policies regarding alcohol and illegal drugs
    • Inform your members of possible consequences for their behavior
    • Enforce your own rules – have a zero-tolerance attitude
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ALCOHOL & ILLEGAL DRUG OFFENSES

  • What Can You Do?
    • Have your advisor(s) present at all off-campus functions
    • Know what is considered an organizational event/function!
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

HAZING

  • “Any intentional, knowing or reckless act, occurring on or off campus, by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a student, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in an organization at Baylor.”
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

HAZING

  • How do I know if this is “hazing?”
    • Ask yourself the following questions:
      • Does the activity add to the worth and growth of the individual?
      • Would you be willing to invite your advisor to the activity?
      • Would you be willing to invite the President of the University to the activity?
      • Would you be willing to invite parents of the members to the activity?
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

HAZING

  • How do I know if this is “hazing?”
    • Ask yourself the following questions:
      • Can new members and initiated members participate equally?
      • Can this activity be written into your new member education notebook/manual and shared with other organizations?
    • If you answered “No” to any of these questions, there is a chance the activity could be considered hazing! Don’t do it!
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

HAZING

  • Penalties for hazing offenses:
    • For individuals:
      • For committing an act of hazing – Fines ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 and/or jail time for up to two (2) years
      • For failing to report an incident of hazing – Fines up to $2,000 and/or jail time for up to 180 days
      • University sanctions/disciplinary action including suspension, expulsion, etc.
      • Other criminal penalties may apply
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

HAZING

  • Penalties for hazing offenses:
    • For organizations:
      • Fines ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 or more
      • University sanctions/disciplinary action including suspension, expulsion, etc.
      • Other criminal penalties may apply
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

HAZING

  • What Can You Do?
    • Be proactive!
      • Don’t wait for a problem to develop! Take steps now to protect your organization and your members!
      • As a leader in your organization, you have an opportunity to be a voice of strength and integrity. Stand up for your members and make public commitments to eliminate hazing from your organization!
      • Emphasize positive programming! Promote those events and activities that build up your members.
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

HAZING

  • What Can You Do?
    • Educate your new and active members!
      • Be sure to provide information as to what should and should not be occurring throughout the new member education experience…and what to do in the event that something out of the ordinary occurs!
    • Confront inappropriate behavior among your members
      • Change is always hard…but change for the better is always a good idea!
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

HAZING

  • What Can You Do?
    • When problems do arise, take corrective action!
      • Report the issue(s) to Student Activities or Judicial Affairs as soon as possible
      • Follow your organization’s policies and procedures to confront members’ behavior
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

SEXUAL ASSAULT, HARASSMENT and/or MISCONDUCT

  • Baylor’s policy regarding sexual abuse, harassment, and/or misconduct can be found online at:

www.baylor.edu/student_policies/sexualharassment

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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

SEXUAL ASSAULT, HARASSMENT and/or MISCONDUCT

  • Issues specifically affecting student organizations:
    • Sexual Assault
    • Verbal Harassment
    • Inappropriate Behavior (Misconduct)
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

SEXUAL ASSAULT, HARASSMENT and/or MISCONDUCT

  • Baylor University addresses “misconduct” in the Student Handbook:

“It is expected that each Baylor student will not engage in conduct that:

    • Interferes with Baylor’s pursuit of its educational and Christian objectives,
    • Fails to exhibit a regard for the rights of others,
    • Shows disrespect for the safety of persons and property, and/or
    • Violates, or attempts to violate, rules, regulations, policies, or laws.”
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

SEXUAL ASSAULT, HARASSMENT and/or MISCONDUCT

  • What Can You Do?
    • Develop a formal policy for your organization that presents a zero-tolerance policy toward any form of sexual abuse, harassment and/or misconduct
    • Educate your members about inappropriate behavior including verbal harassment and physical and sexual assault
    • Confront inappropriate behavior according to your organization’s policies and constitution
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

FIRE SAFETY and USE OF FIREARMS

  • What Can You Do?
    • Ensure that all facilities utilized by your organization (for one-time events/activities and/or ongoing use) meet all local fire and health codes and standards
      • Baylor’s Fire Marshall can aid you in determining if a facility is up to code!
    • Post emergency numbers for fire, police (both Baylor and Waco), and ambulance near all phones and exits
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

FIRE SAFETY and USE OF FIREARMS

  • What Can You Do?
    • Never exceed the posted maximum occupancy of any facility used by the organization
    • Ensure that all smoke alarms are functioning in all facilities used by the organization
    • No smoking inside any campus facilities
    • Ensure that all exits remain clear for easy access and escape
    • Ensure that fire extinguishers are available and easily accessible
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

FIRE SAFETY and USE OF FIREARMS

  • What Can You Do?
    • The possession and/or use of firearms, other weapons, and/or explosive devices is strictly prohibited on Baylor’s campus.
      • Educate your members about this policy and confront members who violate it! Report any violations immediately to Student Activities and/or Judicial Affairs
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ADOPTION OF RISK MANAGEMENT POLICIES BY STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

  • Student organizations are strongly encouraged to adopt a formal risk management policy
    • Risk management policies should address the following student organization risks:
      • Possession and use of alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs, including penalties that may be imposed for possession or use
      • Hazing
      • Sexual abuse and harassment
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ADOPTION OF RISK MANAGEMENT POLICIES BY STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

  • Student organizations are strongly encouraged to adopt a formal risk management policy
    • Risk management policies should address the following student organization risks:
      • Fire and other safety issues, including the possession and use of a firearm or other weapon or of an explosive device
      • Travel
      • Member behavior at student organization events
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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

ADOPTION OF RISK MANAGEMENT POLICIES BY STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

  • Student organizations are strongly encouraged to adopt a formal risk management policy
    • Samples of risk management policies and this powerpoint presentation are available following this session and for download online at:

www.baylor.edu/student_activities/organizations/riskmanagement

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RISK MANAGEMENT & Legal issues

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY FROM HERE…

  • Under state law, you have the responsibility to report the risk management information you have learned today to your organization's general membership.
    • Ensure that you provide this information in a thorough and timely manner to your members (within three weeks)!
    • Thanks!