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Minors as Visitors in Campus Housing

Alyssa Keehan, Esq.
October 2020
Sound policies and procedures to help prevent injuries and abuse of minors on higher ed campuses

From “Little Siblings Weekend” to prospective student visits, children under age 18 occasionally visit and stay overnight in college and university housing. United Educators’ (UE’s) claims show that visiting minors have been injured due to slips and falls, alcohol use, sexual assaults, and physical assaults. Your institution can prevent such incidents by adopting and enforcing policies and procedures to educate host students and emphasize safety. In addition, mandatory application and permission forms help institutions better respond when incidents occur.

Create a Policy

Your housing policy should state rules and requirements for having minor guests in all institution-owned housing — including dorms, apartments, and townhouses — without a parent or legal guardian present. Among the things to include:

  • Address visiting hours, maximum visit lengths, and whether overnight stays are allowed. Many institutions limit visits to three consecutive nights and prohibit visitors during breaks when classes aren’t in session.
  • Describe the process for approving minor visitors.
  • Provide any age or supervision requirements. Some institutions require a family member. Others set a minimum age requirement, such as 13 or 16, to ensure guests are mature enough to safely visit.
  • Explain students are responsible for guests and always must accompany them.
  • Explain that all campus policies must be followed during visits. Spell out host responsibilities and disciplinary action that will occur if the policy is violated.
  • State that students must get approval from all roommates before a minor guest’s stay.

Require Guest Permission Forms

Guest application and permission forms help ensure all residence hall visitors provide necessary information.

Applications for minors should include:

  • Emergency contact information for parents or guardians
  • Known medical conditions
  • Dates of the stay
  • Space for the host student and the minor’s parent/legal guardian to sign the form. In addition, the form should require the parent/guardian to acknowledge your institution’s expectations that the minor will abide by your policies and local, state, and federal laws, and that visitation privileges may be revoked at any time without notice. Further, the form should state that the parent or guardian agrees to pick up the minor if your institution or the host student request it.

To ensure adequate time for review and planning by residence hall and security staff, forms should be completed and signed several days before the visit. If guests have photo identification such as a driver’s license or school ID, they should bring it to campus.

Notify Necessary Campus Officials

After your housing director or designee approves the application, that employee should provide notice of the visit and documentation to campus security and the residence hall director and staff where the guest will be staying.

Early and complete notification prepares campus officials for potentially problematic situations and enables quick access to emergency contact information.

Additional Resources