The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Boo Crew returns to St. Joe’s

Local children participated in Halloween-themed activities on Villiger Lawn during Boo Crew (Photo by Mitchell Shields ’22).

Minors on Campus Policy changes requirement

Boo Crew, the university’s long-running trick-or-treating event for neighborhood children, is back on this year, but it will not be held in campus residence halls due to a university policy regarding minors on campus.

The Minors on Campus Policy, which was adopted in 2012, updated in 2017 and again this year, generally requires “Authorized Adults” who interact with minors on campus to first complete background checks, including the Pennsylvania Criminal Record Search, the FBI Fingerprinting Check and the Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance.

For more than two decades, the university has invited children from nearby neighborhoods in Philadelphia to trick-or-treat in residence halls.

This year, the event, which is sponsored by Campus Ministry, will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 26 in Campion Student Center, Francis A. Drexel Library and Wolfington Center (Campus Ministry), where children will trick-or-treat. Afterward, they will be invited to participate in Halloween-themed activities on Villiger Lawn.

“We’re doing a modified version this year with the hope to return to residence halls next year,” said Beth Ford McNamee, assistant director of Campus Ministry.

Last year, following a report in The Hawk that the event was canceled because of the minors policy, McNamee wrote a Letter to the Editor stating that Campus Ministry was working with Human Resources to modify the event so that it would be in compliance with the policy.

Shortly after, representatives from Campus Ministry, Human Resources and Student Life worked together to propose changes to the policy so that events like Boo Crew could still take place.

“We requested that the wording of the policy be looked at again just to clarify what students could volunteer at the event,” Ford McNamee said.

Cary Anderson, Ed.D., associate provost and vice president of Student Life, was part of these conversations.

“We proposed fairly minor changes to reflect staffing and to make sure that we were capturing the spirit of what we were trying to do in some events,” Anderson said.

Tenisha McDowell, a specialist for Human Resources who oversees the Minors on Campus Policy, did not respond to multiple requests for information.

The most recent update to the policy redefines “Direct Contact” by eliminating the words “routine interaction with” minors. This is meant to allow students volunteering for a one-time event involving minors to avoid having to undergo background checks, Anderson explained. Volunteers still must participate in trainings designed by the event’s organizer, in consultation with Human Resources.

“What the policy is more reflecting is if there are more people here that are background checked, the people organizing the event and all of that, they are supervising what is going on,” Anderson said. “‘Routine interaction’ was the phrase that was struck because ‘routine’ is a little hard to define. It really is the care, guidance, supervision and control of minors, so we just want to be very specific about that.”

All Boo Crew student volunteers need to attend a mandatory orientation that will cover policies and procedures for the event, Ford McNamee said. Participating children will also be accompanied by chaperones.

Becky Gafencu ’21 is helping to organize the activities on Villiger Lawn.

“It seems like a really nice opportunity for these children to see a college campus and community,” Gafencu said.

Aidyn Rogers ’21 is making decorations for trick-or-treating and said she also sees the event as a good opportunity to interact with neighborhood children.

“They see us every day walking back and forth from classes and things like that, so it’s a good way for all of us to interact with the people we see everyday,” Rogers said.

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