Title IX Mandatory Reporters on Campus
There are three federal laws that establish responsibilities for employees of colleges to report certain types of crimes and incidents, especially sexual misconduct; the Clery Act, Title VII, and Title IX. Each of these areas of federal law has a different purpose, but generally, the laws are intended to protect members of the campus community, visitors, and guests from criminal and discriminatory behavior. The responsibilities established by these laws give rise to the term “mandatory reporter.” Reporting of concerning and disruptive behaviors is not legally mandated but is a policy mandate to assist in early identification and detection of at-risk situations.
The Clery Act
The Clery Act imposes a duty to report incidents in 15 different crime categories (including sex offenses) by all “campus security authorities,” defined as officials who have significant responsibility for student and campus activities. It is a broad requirement, including coaches, RAs, student affairs administrators, housing/residential life, and many other offices and departments. It also includes faculty members who have significant responsibility, defined as doing more than teach, i.e. advising student organizations, coordinating extern and internships and mentoring programs.
Because the law can impose liability on employers for sexual harassment by employees, colleges sometimes impose duties to report broadly, either on all employees or at least on all supervisory employees. Some faculty members will become mandated to report, therefore, by virtue of their supervisor status.
Title IX uses the concept of notice, and imposes obligations for a “prompt and effective remedy” on colleges and universities when notice of sex/gender discrimination or harassment is given to a “responsible employee.” A school has notice if a responsible employee knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, about the harassment. A responsible employee includes any employee who has the authority to take action to redress the harassment, who has the duty to report sexual harassment to appropriate school officials, or an individual who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or responsibility. Your college or university will define whether you are a “responsible employee.” Some faculty members will be, and some will not.
Mandatory Reporter Versus Confidentiality
One of the greatest problems with a mandatory requirement to report details of an incident, including personally identifiable information, is the lack of confidentiality that is afforded to victims. Under the terms of both the Clery Act as well as Title IX, however, there are individuals who are permitted to provide completely confidential support services to victims of sexual violence, such as professional and pastoral counselors. Further, some individuals are permitted to provide services and keep personally identifiable information about incidents of sexual violence confidential such as non-professional counselors or advocates under Title IX.
Contact a National Title IX Attorney
Call the experienced attorneys at Duffy Law today if you have been the victim of sexual assault or harassment in an educational program. Our attorneys have extensive experience with Title IX actions and can help to protect your rights and to obtain any compensation to which you are entitled. Call today at 203-946-2000.