Confidentiality: Many survivors of sexual assault need someone to talk to in confidence and are not always ready to press forward with a formal complaint right away, if at all. Sometimes having a confidential place to go can mean the difference between staying silent and getting help. On-campus religious and spiritual life professionals, professional counselors (counseling center staff), and health center staff, can talk to a survivor in confidence which greatly supports their coming forward to get the immediate or long term help they may need, to include making a formal report if they choose to. Even victims who make a formal report may still request that the information be held in confidence and that the College not investigate or take action against the perpetrator(s). However, the College also has an obligation to keep the larger community safe and therefore cannot and does not guarantee that confidentiality will be maintained in every instance, since non-disclosure may pose a serious or ongoing risk to the greater community. In these instances, limited information may need to be shared to protect against continued violence, while also protecting the rights of a victim by not disclosing personally identifiable information such as the victim’s name/identity.
Confidentiality does not mean that the details of the complaint will be withheld from the accused. College policy and local, state, and federal laws prohibit any form of retaliation against a person who files or bears witness to prohibited discrimination or protected-status harassment complaint. Violation of this prohibition may result in criminal and/or judicial action. At the same time, complaints brought forward in bad faith (e.g., malicious or knowingly false) may also result in criminal and/or judicial action against the party that brings forth such a complaint.