Confidentiality

Many people worry about confidentiality—if they come forward with a complaint, who will find out? The answer depends upon the kind of complaint, mostly.

If you file an internal formal or informal complaint, no-one outside the process will be told without your explicit permission (no department chairs, classmates, media, etc.; parents would only be told in an emergency situation). Some administrators will learn your story as part of the process, but only as necessary.

Within the process, people often worry most about the “respondent” – the person against whom the charges have been filed. Does he or she need to know who filed it?  If you want to file a formal complaint (the kind most likely to result in disciplinary action), you do need to have your name on record; your name and your written complaint will be shared with the respondent. Informal complaints can proceed without your name, although that will significantly limit the scope of possible resolutions. In either case, these proceedings are confidential—not to be discussed except with a formal advisor, lawyer, or family member. Respondents are also reminded that there are penalties against retaliation, which the University strictly enforces.

The confidentiality of a police report shifts over time. Once a case is closed, it becomes a matter of public record. This does not mean it is widely released, but it can be requested and will be made available. It is the practice, though, to redact (black out) the names of victims, along with any other identifying information. So while it is not “confidential,” your name would not be public, either. 

Please review the chart below for more information about how different resources will respond if you contact them.