Sexual Misconduct Policy - Privacy v. Confidentiality



The College is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in a report of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, sexual harassment, or stalking. All College employees and students who are involved in the College’s Title IX response, including the Title IX Coordinator, investigators, and hearing panel members, receive specific instruction about respecting and safeguarding private information. Throughout the process, every effort will be made to protect the privacy interests of all individuals involved in a manner consistent with the need for a thorough review of the report. Privacy and confidentiality have distinct meanings under this policy.

Privacy

Privacy generally means that information related to a report of misconduct will only be shared with a limited circle of individuals. The use of this information is limited to those College employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the active review, investigation, or resolution of the report. While not bound by confidentiality, these individuals will be discreet and respect the privacy of all individuals involved in the process.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality means that information shared by an individual with designated campus or community professionals cannot be revealed to any other individual without the express permission of the individual. These campus and community professionals include mental health providers, ordained clergy, and rape crisis counselors, all of whom have legally protected confidentiality. These individuals are prohibited from breaking confidentiality unless there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others

An individual who seeks completely confidential assistance may do so by speaking with professionals who have a legally protected confidentiality. On campus, confidential resources available to students include psychological counselors at the Counseling Center, licensed health care professionals in Wicker Wellness Center, and the minister (Viki Brooks) in the Office for Religious & Spiritual Life. When a report involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 18, these confidential resources are required by state law to notify child protective services and/or local law enforcement.

An individual may also seek assistance from a medical provider. In general, the disclosure of private information contained in medical records is protected by New York State patient confidentiality laws.

Responsible Employees

In general, most College employees do not have legally protected confidentiality. Under Title IX, the College is required to take immediate and corrective action if a “Responsible Employee” knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about sexual or gender-based harassment that creates a hostile environment. A Responsible Employee includes any employee who:

  • Has the authority to take action to redress the harassment;
  • Has the duty to report to appropriate school officials sexual harassment or any other misconduct by students or employees; or
  • A student could reasonably believe has the authority or responsibility to take action.