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Parent and Participant Handbook for Youth Programs


Michigan State University is delighted to welcome Michigan youth to the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education opportunities, and the related research and creative activities, now being conducted at the MSU St. Andrews facility at 1910 W. St. Andrews Rd., Midland, Michigan.

This handbook provides information to youth participants and their parents or guardians regarding the personal safety and security practices at MSU. St. Andrews, consistent with the MSU policy entitled Conducting University Youth Programs: Minimum Operational Requirements. That University-wide policy may be found on­line at: https://www.hr.msu.edu/policies-procedures/universitywide/

These personal safety and security practices specifically address program participation by minors. In particular, this handbook supplements activity-specific safety practices, policies, and training variously appropriate to individual STEAM program activities. Those activities span a range from solar and night astronomy, to chemical synthesis, to biological dissection, to robotics construction and competition.

1. Emergency Notification Procedures

Youth programs at MSU St. Andrews fall into three general categories, each with their own emergency notification procedures in cases of emergency, health events, or behavioral events.

1.1 School-chaperoned events

MSU St. Andrews hosts K-12 school-chaperoned events, such as curriculum-relevant visits for classes and student clubs.

Emergency notification of parents or guardians for such visits will, to the extent reasonable in the circumstances, be coordinated through and subject to the guidance of the K-12 teaching chaperones, as well as their building and district administrators. If immediate access to such chaperones or administrators is unavailable in an emergency, MSU personnel will contact public safety personnel and participants’ parents or guardians, as a stop-gap measure.

1.2 Parent or guardian-chaperoned events

MSU St. Andrews hosts parent or guardian-chaperoned events, such as family star­gazing nights and various lectures and open houses. The working assumption for such events is that at least one parent or guardian is present for each attending family. Hence, emergency notification will begin with the chaperoning adult family member. In some cases, a parent or guardians may wish to leave the MSU St. Andrews premises for some period during such programs. In those cases, the parent or guardian will be asked to fill out and sign a contact slip providing emergency contact instructions.

1.3 Programs in which students participate with only MSU chaperones

MSU St. Andrews conducts some programs in which youth participate with neither a parent/guardian nor a school chaperone present. A primary example is the high school research intern program, in which rising seniors are employed full-time during summer months. Other programs, such as research continuation beyond the period of internships, may involve participants who are not employed.

A prerequisite for youth participation in all such programs is the prior completion and signature by a parent or guardian of an emergency contact information form. The forms will be available to on-site MSU program chaperones in the front office. When field trips are conducted, a copy of such forms will be carried in each vehicle involved. The contact instructions on such forms will be followed in case of emergency.

1.4 Supplemental emergency notifications

In all cases, MSU will provide a separate, timely, additional notification to public safety personnel in all cases of:

1.4.1 possession or use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, fireworks, guns, and other weapons
1.4.2 fires, explosions, and reportable chemical spills;
1.4.3 MiOHSA or OHSA-reportable injuries; and
1.4.4 reports or suspicion of abuse, assault, or abduction.

Additional reporting of adverse events involving minor employees will be provided per policy to MSU Human Resources.

As a general rule, additional notifications will also be provided to other University entities with relevant jurisdiction; e.g., the Office of Institutional Equity, the Office of Research Integrity, the Office of Risk Management, the Office of the General Counsel, and/or MSU Environmental Health & Safety.

2. Contacting Program Participants in an Emergency

Personal or family exigencies may necessitate unplanned contact of youth participants in MSU St. Andrews programs by their parents or guardians. Many youth participants carry personal cellphones, and parents or guardians are always welcome to call them. However, the following supplemental contact options exist.

2.1 For on-site programs, please call Mr. Troy Terwillegar, the MSU St. Andrews building curator, at (989) 513-9772
2.2 For field trips from MSU St. Andrews, please call the trip leader’s cell phone, which will be shown on the permission information document for the specific trip.
2.3 In any instance during business hours when the numbers given above do not result in a successful contact, please call (517) 432-4499.
2.4 In any instance outside of business hours when the numbers given above do not result in a successful contact, please call (517) 285-5646 or (517) 881-1650.

3. Program Rules and Conduct Expectations

Participants must abide by all University regulations and may be removed from the program for violation of such rules. The following rules apply to all MSU St. Andrews programs.

3.1 The possession or use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, fireworks, guns, and other weapons is strictly prohibited.

3.2 Participants may leave MSU St. Andrews during the program only at

3.2.1 specified times (if any) appropriate to the age of the youth participants, or
3.2.2 when collected by an appropriately identified parent or guardian or other family member with the prior permission of a parent or guardian, or
3.2.3 at the direction of appropriately identified program staff or public safety personnel

3.3 Violence of any kind is strictly prohibited.

3.4 Sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and other sexually inappropriate conduct are strictly prohibited.

3.5 Harassment and other violations of the University Anti-Discrimination Policy (which may be found at https://www.hr.msu.edu/policies-procedures/university-wide/ADP_policy.html) are strictly prohibited.

3.6 Hazing and bullying (physical, verbal, or cyber-bullying) are strictly prohibited.

3.7 Misuse or intentional damage of MSU St. Andrews property is prohibited, and participants may be held financially responsible for misuse or intentional damage of such property.

3.8 All persons at MSU St. Andrews must refrain from actions that violate, or hold the reasonable potential to violate, the privacy of others. In particular:

3.8.1 The use (or placement for use) of cameras or other electronic image recording devices ( such as modern cellphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) is prohibited in all restrooms.

3.8.2 MSU St. Andrews has open area showers for emergency inundation of persons exposed to fire or hazardous chemicals. They may only be used for that purpose. The privacy of individuals undergoing an emergency inundation must be respected, and protected to the extent possible in light of the specific emergency.

3.8.3 The purposeful installation or activation of computer malware or other unauthorized software to listen to or take images of users without appropriate consent, log their keystrokes, surreptitiously access their files, emails, or text messages, or otherwise violate their privacy is strictly prohibited.

3.9 Plagiarism, falsification, and fabrication are strictly prohibited in all research or creative activities at MSU St. Andrews, including those undertaken by youth participants.

3.10 Theft of property, regardless of owner, is strictly prohibited.

3.11 Unauthorized entry to laboratories, storage rooms, faculty offices, and secured spaces is strictly prohibited, and may pose significant safety threats to violators.

3.12 Unauthorized use of scientific, maintenance, and other specialized equipment is strictly prohibited, and may pose significant safety threats to violators and others.

3.13 Violations of activity-specific health and safety rules and procedural training are strictly prohibited, and may pose significant safety threats to violators and others.

4. Violation of Rules: Consequences and Procedures

MSU St. Andrews has experienced very few infractions by youth participants or adults, and the avoidance of infractions is a primary objective. However, in the event of infractions, the procedures described below will be applicable.

4.1 Violations of law may and should be reported to law enforcement by those with knowledge pertaining to them, and will be reported by Research & Innovation staff when known.

4.2 If any individual (youth or adult) associated with any MSU St. Andrews program is believed to have violated an MSU policy or the conduct rules of a specific program, a report may be filed by any one or more of the following methods:

a) Calling Research & Innovation at (517) 432-4499 during office hours. After hours, a call may be placed to Dr. Paul Hunt at (517) 285-5646 and/or to Ms. Loraine Hudson at (517) 881-1650.

b) Emailing either Dr. Paul Hunt at pmhunt@msu.edu or Ms. Loraine Hudson at ljh@msu.edu, or both.

c) Calling the MSU Misconduct Hotline at 1-800-763-0764. (Additional information may be found at https://oarc.msu.edu/index.html

4.3 In cases of K12 school-chaperoned events at MSU St. Andrews, Research & Innovation will typically consult with district personnel and defer to district policies and procedures regarding alleged infractions by youth participants. In all other cases of alleged infractions by youth or adults, Research & Innovation will consult with the MSU Office of General Counsel concerning due process, incident and disposition record-making and retention, and age-appropriate aspects of dealing with an alleged infraction under applicable MSU policies and procedures. Permanent dismissal of a participant requires the approval of either Ms. Loraine Hudson or Dr. Paul Hunt, and is appealable to more senior University officials.

4.4 Independent reports will always be filed by MSU with law enforcement, environmental protection, public health, and/or occupational safety authorities when such reporting is mandated by applicable laws or government regulations, or is judged by site personnel to be appropriate in light of immediate danger or protracted risk.

5. Notification of Early Adjournments and/or Participant Dismissals

5.1 Notifications of early program adjournments and/or participant dismissals will be reported to school district personnel in instances of K12 school-chaperoned events.

5.2 Early adjournments or participant dismissals will be communicated with parents or guardians face-to-face at parent-chaperoned events.

5.3 In MSU-chaperoned events, the prior completion and signature by a parent or guardian of an emergency contact information form is a prerequisite to youth participation. Information on that form will be used to ensure notification to a parent or guardian.

5.4 In all cases, at least two (2) MSU adult chaperones will remain with youth participants until all youth participants have departed in accord with Sections 5.1 and 5.2 above.

6. Accommodations

Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services, and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities -whether youth participants or adults — may be requested by contacting Ms. Melanie Kauffman, at (517) 432-4499 or kauffm59@msu.edu, at least 48 hours before any MSU St. Andrews event. Requests received after that time will be honored whenever possible.

Questions? Please call (517) 432-4499 during office hours or (517) 881-1650 any time.