Section Six: Risk Reduction and Management

As the leader of an organization, you play an important role in the management of risk. When making decisions about risk, you must consider the exposure of the organization, the university, and yourself to legal liability. Your first and foremost consideration should be safety.

When a student organization is planning an activity, you should think through any and all possible safety concerns. Some situations may be more obvious than others. For example, an organization that is planning a flag football tournament has some easily foreseeable risk of injury or harm. An organization that wants to have an academic quiz competition has less foreseeable risk of injury or harm. Your job is to challenge your organization to think of all possibilities, assess the likelihood of something happening, and think of ways to minimize the risk. In most cases, when appropriate steps are taken to mediate potential risks, those steps are adequate protection for legal liability for your organization and yourself. If you have reason to question an action taken by the organization, express your concern directly to the organization in writing, including the date, a suggested alternative to the questionable action, a warning, etc.

There is no specific statement that covers all the possible situations student organizations might encounter. If you have concerns about a situation unique to your organization or to a specific event sponsored by the organization you advise, please contact a professional staff member in the Center for Student Involvement. These professionals make decisions regularly concerning the risk management of student events.

 

Table of Contents


Risk Management Considerations

Travel

Assumption of Risk, Indemnification, and Release

Accidents and Insurance

Hazing

Emergency Closings

Live Safe at UB App

 

Risk Management Considerations


  • What are all foreseeable possibilities for injury or harm?
  • If one of these possibilities occurs, how severe would be the consequences?
  • Possibility of death? Possibility of severe injury? Possibility of minor injury?
  • How likely is each of the possibilities?
  • How do level of severity and likelihood of occurrence intersect?

-High potential severity and high likelihood of occurrence: Event should not take place unless there are mediating steps that can decrease severity and/or likelihood significantly.

Example: The Sports Car Club wants to host a drag racing competition. Clearly, there is a high potential for severe injury, including death. There is also a high likelihood that an incident may occur. This event clearly should not happen.

-Low severity and high probability of occurrence: Event should be assessed for risk, but may not require the cancellation or major modification of an event.

For example, an organization may be having a car wash fundraiser. There is a relatively high risk of minor problems (i.e. turned ankles, blisters, etc.) By providing guidance and easily accessible access to first aid, this risk is easily mediated.

What steps can be taken to minimize the chances of injury or harm?

What preparatory steps can be taken in case a foreseen risk occurs despite mediating efforts? (i.e. having an EMT on sight at a concert; knowing the nearest emergency room; carrying a cell phone so that assistance can be contacted.)

Is the event legal, allowable by College policy and guidelines, and ethical?

Adapted from the West Texas A&M University Advisor Handbook

The Risk Assessment Matrix in the Appendices section is a helpful tool for considering the risk associated with a student organization event.

 

Host Responsibilities

You are responsible for the safety and welfare of all the guests at your event, including those people who show up uninvited. You are responsible for all occurrences and incidents that happen before, during, and after your event. You are responsible for knowing the specific regulations of your community, including policies, ordinances, permits and lease provisions. You are responsible for fostering positive relationships with your community and maintaining the existing quality of life.

 

Legal Responsibilities

Your decision to host an event can come with many legal responsibilities and financial consequences. Courts of law have consistently found that event sponsors have a duty of care to take reasonable precautions to prevent bodily harm and property damage.


Negligence

The failure to act with reasonable care or take the necessary measures that a reasonable person would take to prevent problems. If a problem was foreseeable and you did nothing to prevent it, you could be found negligent.

 

Premise Liability

You are liable for any injuries sustained during the event at your private residence or on the surrounding property due to negligence.

 

Social Host Liability

Any person who sells or provides alcohol at a social event is responsible for the safety and well-being of their guests during and after the function. The social host is also liable for any harm to a third party caused by the behavior or actions of an intoxicated guest.

 

Risk Management Tips

  • Invite your advisor to serve as a chaperone for the function.
  • Set a definitive start and end time for the event.
  • Pick a theme that reflects your organization’s interests and values.
  • Schedule a date and time for your function that does not conflict with academic interests.
  • Pick an appropriate event theme and activities that best reflect your organization’s values and image.
  • Limit publicity and use an invitation list to ensure that attendance does not exceed facility fire codes and unwanted guests do not show up.
  • Designate a risk manager to oversee the social event.
  • Train your volunteers about event policies and procedures.
  • Assign volunteers specific duties at strategic locations in and around the facility.
  • Consider hiring off-duty police or professional security.
  • Establish an emergency contact list and a crisis management plan.
  • Create a strategy to deal with guest parking issues and post-event cleanup.
  • Make provisions for a public address system to communicate with volunteers and guests.
  • Secure equipment and clear aisles, hallways and exits of obstructions.
  • Perform a safety check on all electrical equipment and facilities.
  • Make sure that you have good lighting and visible signage.
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages and food for guests.
  • Be cognizant of noise levels in and around the facility.
  • Use a team approach to deal with disorderly guests. Remain calm and do not instigate an altercation.
  • Work cooperatively with law enforcement when issues arise.

Adapted from the Salisbury University Risk Management Guide for RSOs and Greek Life

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Travel


The Center for Student Involvement seeks to promote safe travel to events and activities occurring beyond the boundaries of university property by student organizations. All travel by recognized student organizations must relate to the purpose of the organization and comply with the policies of the University of Baltimore and applicable local, state, and national laws. The UB Code of Conduct, available at http://www.ubalt.edu/campus-life/student-handbook.cfm., is in effect for all student organization travel. 

Student Organizations should register all travel prior to departure to ensure proper risk management considerations are made and that participants are eligible for reimbursement upon return. Travel is registered by completing an Event Registration in OrgSync and indicating the event involves travel (question #3). Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the student organization to make travel arrangements.

All student organization members traveling must be either undergraduate, graduate or law students currently enrolled at the University of Baltimore. Student organizations or individual members are responsible for funding their own travel. Student Organizations may receive funding from the Student Allocations Board for portions of travel. However, it is unlikely to receive an allocation to fund the entire trip and student organizations should plan accordingly. See Section 5: Managing Financials for specific information on funding student organization travel.

Students are responsible for their own health insurance. UB will not cover expenses incurred due for health issues, including medical emergencies.

Students must discuss class absences with their instructors. No one is excused from attending by the student organization, advisor or Center for Student Involvement.

 

Domestic Travel

At least 3 businesses days prior to departure, Student Organizations are to submit a list of names of those travelling and a signed Assumption of Risk, Indemnification, and Release Form to the Center for Student Involvement. If this form is not on file be the deadline, CSI reserves the right to refuse reimbursement of any expense, in addition to our right to formally charge the officers of the organization with judicial penalties.

 

International Travel

The trip leader must meet with the Director for Student Involvement or their designee to review the travel requirements. Travel is not permitted to any country on the U.S. Department of State’s travel warning list.

The travel procedures apply to all student organization travel, both in cases where the travel is sponsored by the University of Baltimore and where a student organization travels on behalf of, or with the financial support of, a recognized student organization of the University of Baltimore. A travel checklist can be found in the appendices to help plan any travel arrangements an organization may be making.

We encourage organizations who are traveling to meet with a CSI staff member in advance of planning travel, at least 40 days prior to departure. This lead time is needed in order to process needed requests through the proper State of Maryland processes, which may take up to 30 businesses days.

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Assumption of Risk, Indemnification, and Release


The Assumption of Risk, Indemnification, and Release form must be completed by organizations when they hold an event that includes a physical activity of risk or when traveling off campus. These forms are to be turned into CSI immediately following the on campus activity or two (2) days before a travel event. The Assumption of Risk, Indemnification, and Release form can be found in the files or email studentorgs@ubalt.edu and we will print the form for you.

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Accidents and Insurance


University Responsibility

CSI, the Division for Student Affairs and the University of Baltimore are not responsible for injuries incurred at University-organized activities, programs or events. CSI will provide assistance in contacting University of Baltimore Police Department at 410.837.4444, which will then provide first aid as needed and will solicit transportation to a hospital if necessary.

In the case of a life threatening emergency, dial 911.

 

Participant Responsibility

Participants should know and be able to meet the physical demands of any activity in which they are to engage. Each activity has a certain degree of risk, some more than others. Please note that participants of an event or program may be required to sign a liability waiver prior to participation.

If medical assistance is necessary, the medical expenses beyond those covered by the participant’s insurance are the responsibility of the participant. It is also the responsibility of the participant to report any accident or incidents to the CSI office within three business days following a program or event.

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Hazing


“Hazing” is against the law (Section 3-607, Criminal Law Article, Annotated Code of Maryland) and is prohibited at the University of Baltimore (Policy 1-2.5). When this policy is violated, the University may take action against all participants through its disciplinary procedures.

Hazing is defined as any action taken or situation created by students within a University organization or organization that intentionally produces mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule for other students seeking to join or maintain membership in that organization.

Participants’ consent will not be a defense. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing is not a neutral act and is a violation.

Hazing concerns should be reported to:

The Office of Community Life
Academic Center, Room 112
communitylife@ubalt.edu
410.837.4755

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Emergency Closings


If the University of Baltimore is closed due to an emergency or extreme weather; if this occurs, all CSI and student organization events will be canceled. Please notify participants accordingly. Please dial the UB Emergency Notification line at 410.837.4201 for emergency updates or visit the University of Baltimore Police Department website (http://www.ubalt.edu/about-ub/offices-and-services/university-police/) for more information about the university closing policies. For the most up-to-date information, CSI strongly encourages all students to sign-up for the Campus Text Alert System through the MyUB portal.

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Live Safe at UB App


The University of Baltimore Police Department has many different ways you can communicate with the department as well as gain useful knowledge. One way the UBPD does this is through the use of the LiveSafe App (http://www.ubalt.edu/about-ub/offices-and-services/university-police/livesafe.cfm). This app allows users to communicate with the UBPD and report crimes or suspicious activity and other non-emergency items, find the nearest safe zone, learn about different safety topics, and have better situational awareness. However, in the case of an emergency, call the campus police at 410.837.4444, or dial 911.

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Announcements

Org Training is Now Online!
Click here for information about the required training for officers.

Training must be completed by Sept. 30 to avoid penalty.

Need help running your org?
Follow the links under the resources section (to the left) to navigate to the resources pages.

Follow links in the Policies and Procedures Section to review the updated Student Org handbook.

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