A faculty or staff member is often the first person at the University a student will tell if they have experienced any discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault or sexual misconduct. As faculty and staff, we know you are committed to supporting our students to the best of your ability. The following resources and information can help you as you help our students.
All University of Redlands faculty, administrators and supervisory staff are responsible employees except those designated as confidential employees (Chaplains and Licensed Counselors/Psychologist working in the Counseling Center). All employees must report any knowledge of discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault or sexual misconduct that occurred to someone within our community to the Office of Equity & Title IX.
Employees cannot keep conversations confidential - you have a duty to report. For this reason, if an individual approaches you and asks to take you into confidence, it is best for you to warn the individual that you have an obligation to report things that you are told and that, if the individual truly wants confidentiality, they should seek confidential resources (Chaplains and Licensed Counselors/Psychologist working in the Counseling Center). Professionals in these two organizational areas can maintain confidentiality and will only report if the person who seeks their assistance requests that a report be made or if the employee has a professional or legal obligation to do so.
Anytime a disclosure is made during a personal discussion with you (before/after class, in your office hours, outside of class, when leading a trip, etc.) regarding potential sexual discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct, you have an obligation to report. To report, all you need to do is contact the Office of Equity & Title IX with the information that you know about the incident. You never should act as an investigator to gain more information that what was shared with you. The Office of Equity & Title IX will manage the follow-up with the individual through the Equity & Title IX process.
Helpful information to be able to share with the Office of Equity & Title IX for the report:
First and foremost, trust the individual and make no judgment about what is being shared. Asking specific questions about the incident can be received as blaming and we never want to re-traumatize a person. Your goal is to respond with care and concern for their well-being. Often everyday activities can be challenging for those reporting, so you can be helpful in verifying they are feeling safe, attending class, etc. People who have experienced a traumatic situation do not always respond the way we think they will (or the way we think they should) based on their circumstances. It is important to not place judgment on their affect, their memories or their choices at that time. Many people will also need time to process what happened before they are prepared to talk about it. The best thing you can do is direct them to the Office of Equity & Title IX where there are trained employees to help them through their situation.
When you talk with someone who is sharing their experiences with you please be very aware of the impact of your words and reactions. Hear the experience as the student describes it. Articulate clearly that you believe the student and you want to provide support in any way you can.
Type of Good questions to ask:
Type of Questions to avoid (judgmental questions):
If someone discloses an incident of sexual misconduct to you, including sexual assault, stalking, dating or domestic violence, or sexual harassment, please take the following steps:
CONFIRM the person’s safety. If they are not safe, help them create a plan to get to a safe place. Call 911 if needed.
PROVIDE nonjudgmental support. Avoid questions that suggest blame or show doubt.
RESPOND with compassion and sensitivity.
DIRECT the person to:
Office of Equity & Title IX
Confidential resources (Chaplain or Counselors)
If your student is hesitant to get help, offer to accompany them to those who can help. Sometimes that is all it takes to help a student begin to take action.
EXPLAIN your obligation to report the information.
CONTACT the Office of Equity & Title IX Coordinator to report the incident.
Note: As an employee you are obligated to report what you know.
Your syllabi present a unique opportunity to educate every student about classroom and course expectations, as well as their rights and resources on campus. Because students and faculty often forge close mentoring and advising relationships, because classroom discussions and course topics often engage emotionally charged subject matter, and because sexual misconduct is a very real issue, your syllabi should be specific about the roles and responsibilities of you and your students, including your responsibility to report suspected sexual misconduct. By placing information on syllabi, faculty provide an opportunity for students to have easy and private access to information on their rights, resources and reporting options. By including a policy statement on syllabi, we can create a safer campus and a better community at the University both inside and outside of the classroom.
See Syllabus Statement for an example of a language that you can use within your syllabi to prepare and inform your students.