Confidentiality Protections and Reporting Obligations

Confidentiality Policy Regarding Gender-Based Offenses

 

Confidentiality.  The University encourages those who have experienced discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct to talk with the appropriate people and to discuss options for filing a criminal complaint (if appropriate) and/or complaint with the University. The decision to come forward and report incidents covered in this policy can be difficult and individual may want to seek assistance from someone who can provide support and assure that what is disclosed will not be acted upon.

Certain individuals can serve as confidential resources and are ethically and legally obligated to keep all information shared with them confidential except in certain circumstances noted below. Though the University encourages students and employees to bring reports of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct to the attention of the Administrative Officer, for further investigation pursuant to these procedures, individuals who wish to maintain confidentiality may contact University Counseling Services at (660) 785-4014. After hours call the dispatcher at (660) 665-5621 and ask for the crisis counselor.

These employees are Confidential Reporters. Absent the reporting party’s consent and/or situations whether they perceive a serious risk or threat of injury to any person or property, Confidential Reporters are not required to report information learned in the course of a confidential communication to the Administrative Officer for further investigation pursuant to the related Non-Discrimination Complaint Reporting and Resolution Procedure.

However, if the information is not learned in the course of confidential communication (for example, behavior observed in class), then a Confidential Reporter has the same obligation as a Mandated Reporter. Furthermore, at the request of the reporting party, Confidential Reporters can assist individuals in contacting the Administrative Officer to report discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct. Individuals who wish to maintain confidentiality may also speak with off-campus counselors and off-campus members of the clergy and chaplain, all of whom have the right to maintain confidentiality.

Please note that, in some cases, medical and mental health professionals may be required by state law to report certain crimes to law enforcement (e.g. allegations of abuse of a person under 18).

Confidentiality During the Complaint Resolution Procedure

The University will handle information related to the alleged violations of this policy and the related Non-Discrimination Complaint Reporting and Resolution Procedure with sensitivity and discretion. However, in order to conduct the Complaint resolution process in an extensive, fair and impartial manner, the University may need to disclose information relating to an incident, including the identity of the individuals involved, to witnesses and others, and will do so in accordance with this policy and applicable law.

If a Complainant requests confidentiality or asks that a Complaint not be pursued, the Administrative Officer should take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the Complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue the Complaint. If a Complainant insists that identifiable information, such as the Complainant’s name, not be disclosed to the Respondent, the Administrative Officer should inform the Complainant that the University’s ability to respond to the Complaint may be limited.

The Administrative Officer is responsible for evaluating a Complainant’s request for confidentiality and/or that a Complaint not be pursued in the context of providing safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, employees, volunteers and visitors.

If, after due deliberation of the Complainant’s request, the Administrative Officer decides not to proceed with the investigation and resolution process, such a decision should be well-reasoned and documented. In addition, the Administrative Officer should consider other steps to limit the effect of the reported discriminatory behavior, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on the victim and the University community.

If, after due deliberation of the Complainant’s request, the Administrative Officer decides that it is necessary to pursue the investigation and Complaint resolution process in order to protect the University community or others and provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment, extenuating circumstances aside, the Complainant will be informed of the decision prior to proceeding. Complainants will not be required to participate in the investigation and resolution process. The University will inform the Complainant if it cannot ensure confidentiality.

In all cases, information related to alleged violations of this policy and any subsequent procedures will be treated as confidential and will only be shared with others on a need-to-know bases to the extent they are involved in the Complaint resolution process and/or directly responsible for the University’s response to the incident. Participants in the Complaint resolution process (including witnesses) must keep the content of any meeting, interview, and/or investigation confidential.

Confidentiality of Protective/Remedial Measures

Whether or not the University can accommodate a request for confidentiality and/or a request that a Complaint not be pursued, the University may still provide protective measures and/or other remedies if they are reasonably available and requested by the Complainant. The University will maintain as confidential any such measure or remedies provided to the Complainant to the extent that maintain such confidentiality will not impair the ability of the University to provide the protective measures of other remedies