Campus News

UGA implements new policy governing minors in research labs

UGA is implementing a new policy to manage the presence of minor-age individuals inside university labs and research spaces, designed to help ensure the safety and security of such individuals.

The new Policy on Minors (not Acting as Students/Employees) in the Research Laboratories, Clinics and Animal Facilities designates when minors will be allowed to perform research in university laboratories, greenhouses, clinic areas or animal facilities when not acting as a university student or employee. It also helps those intending to host such minors in their research space to identify, document and mitigate any potential risks.

The new policy was developed in collaboration with the advisory committee for the recently updated Policy for Programs and Activities Serving Minors. It operates in harmony with the longstanding policy governing minor participants in programs such as Young Dawgs, which facilitates internships for high schoolers who want to conduct research alongside UGA students and faculty.

“This policy is meant to address the other, less formalized arrangements when you might see a minor in a laboratory or a greenhouse or other research space—for example, when a professor agrees to let a friend or colleague’s child help around the lab or something like that,” said Chris King, associate vice president for the Office of Research Integrity and Safety.

The policy took effect on Jan. 1, and the expectation is that researchers who work with minors will meet its provisions by the end of the spring semester. The policy will be managed by the Office of Research Safety with oversight from the Research Safety Committee. The Office of Research Integrity and Safety will issue additional communications during the spring about how researchers can comply with the policy and where they can get assistance.