University of Southern Indiana

Risk Management & Liability Issues

Zachary's Law

One of the most important liability issues involves a requirement that we not expose children (under the age of 18) to sex offenders.  As part of the University Handbook (p.152), USI faculty are required to check that students working with children are not on the sex offender registry. 

If students in your service-learning course work with children, go to United States Department of Justice Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website and enter the name of the student into the search boxes.  Read and accept the Conditions of Use.  This will run a basic name search through all 50 state databases.

NOTE: The system may pull name matches or names similar to those of the student you are searching, particularly if you are searching for a common name.  You can compare the student’s birthday with the records on the registry to verify identities. 

Other Liability Issues to keep in mind:

  • If you will be taking students off campus, complete Field Trip Report Form, (can do one for a series of repeat trips during a semester).  It is only necessary to complete this form for supervised field trips.
  • Advise students of any potential risks associated with the project.
  • Talk with community partners that will be supervising students to discuss their responsibilities as supervisors.  Also, advise partners that student projects may not provide perfect results, so take precautions for any potential liability issues.
  • If necessary, restrict students' access to confidential or proprietary information off-site.
  • Ensure respect for the student's privacy, dignity, and civil rights.  Follow university guidelines for reporting sexual harassment and alleged discrimination.
  • Advise students that they must provide their own liability insurance, unless they are student teachers. (Many students are covered by their parents' insurance). 
  • Contact USI Risk Management (Risk Management & Safety)  if you have questions pertaining to liability issues for your specific service-learning project. 

Contact Marie Opatrny-Pease

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