Although none of us in College Ministry like or want to think about it, we must be aware of legal issues that could affect us. Here is a quick view of three legal issues College Ministers must keep in mind. This is a quick summary of information provided by State College Ministry leaders Joe Graham of Georgia and Bruce McGowan of Texas at the Glorieta College Ministers conference. My purpose is to alert you to issues you may need to further consider and investigate. This is in no way a complete view of the issues and I am certainly not an attorney.
1. Travel Issues
Know the difference between "Direct Volunteers" and "Indirect Volunteers".
Your insurance likely distinguishes between them. Direct volunteers are those under your supervision. Indirect are those you send to serve somewhere else. Liability follows the vehicle first. Beware who you hand the keys to.
Vans and Mini-Buses - Most 15 passenger vans assembled before 2012 will NOT pass the "mice type" of a liability policy. Most model years since 2012 will-BUT only if you do not allow passengers to occupy the back seat (effectively turning a 15 passenger van into an 11 passenger). Typically, mini-buses will meet the stipulations. Check your policy to see if trailers are excluded.
2. A BCM in Georgia received a bill for $528 for using a picture on their website they found on the Internet to promote a mission trip. After some back and forth, they did not have to pay in this instance. Be careful what you use! There are programs that search the Internet looking for use of protected images.
3. Child Protection Issues must be considered in instances where your students work with children. Consider having these volunteers go through a "Ministry Safe Certification". One practice is to always have two adults (not of the same family) present. Ministry Safe is a Texas company that specializes in training and information for these type issues.