In determining which resources to access, it is important to consider the related issues of confidentiality and privacy. Those terms sound similar, but they mean somewhat different things.
- Williams strongly supports students’ interest in confidentially in cases involving sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence and harassment. Even if a student does not specifically ask for confidentiality, Williams will only disclose information regarding incidents of alleged sexual violence to those individuals responsible for handling the school’s response. Students considering reporting an incident, or in the process of reporting and/or adjudication, will always be told, in advance, what information would need to be disclosed, to whom, and why.
- At the same time, there are situations in which the College must override a student’s request for confidentially in order to meet its federal legal obligations. However, these situations (described below) will be limited, and the information will only be shared with individuals who are responsible for handling the College’s response to incidents of sexual violence.
Some resources, both on and off campus, are able with very limited exceptions to maintain complete confidentiality with respect to reports of sexual misconduct. They will not share with anyone – including law enforcement, College officials or anyone else – any information that identifies or might be used to identify the person reporting the sexual misconduct, except with the reporting person’s consent or where there is an imminent threat to the safety of the reporting person or others.
Confidential resources off-campus include:
- Elizabeth Freeman Center 413-499-2425
- Any local or national rape crisis center or certified rape crisis counselor
- Chaplains or clergy
- Licensed medical or mental health professionals
- Private attorneys
Confidential resources for students on-campus (students who are off-campus are also welcome to contact these resources) include:
- Confidential resources include SASS Survivor Services. SASS is staffed around the clock by staff with specific training on responding to intimate violence (Meg Bossong, Director of Sexual Assault Response and Prevention; Allison Jasso, Violence Prevention Coordinator; Carolina Echenique ‘15, Admissions; Emery Shriver, Libraries; Mike Evans, Zilkha Center; Rabbi Seth Wax, Chaplains’ Office; and Alice Lee, Athletics) who can provide support, help you access resources, or offer information about on- and off-campus options. Other confidential resources on and off campus include Integrative Wellbeing and Health Services; the college chaplains; and the Elizabeth Freeman Center, which is the local rape crisis center and domestic violence organization and also has a 24/7 hotline.
Confidentiality Requirements for Student Participating in Investigation and Adjudication processes
All of these resources are confidential and private:
- The Employee Assistance Program:1-866-799-2485, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Elizabeth Freeman Center (Pittsfield) 499-2425
- National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE
- National Sexual Assault Online Hotline
- For a list of resources with particular focus on the needs of LGBTQ survivors, see http://barcc.org/information/resources-online/glbt
- For resources with particular focus on the needs of male survivors, see malesurvivor.org.
- A 'responsible employee' is any college employee who is not a confidential employee. The term 'responsible employee' means a College employee who has the duty to report sexual misconduct by a member of the College community.
Responsible employees must report to the Title IX Coordinator all relevant details about the alleged sexual misconduct that the person disclosing the incident has shared. This includes:
- The person who experienced the alleged sexual misconduct
- The name of the alleged perpetrator, if known
- The identity of other persons involved in the alleged sexual misconduct
- The relevant facts, including the date, time, and location of the alleged misconduct
- Whether the person who experienced the alleged misconduct has asked that that their name not be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator(s) or that the College not investigate or take action against the alleged perpetrator(s).
Williams strongly supports the confidentiality interests of persons reporting sexual misconduct. Even if a person does not specifically ask for confidentiality, Williams will disclose information regarding incidents of alleged sexual misconduct only to those individuals directly responsible for handling the College’s response. In addition, persons considering whether to report an incident, or in the process of reporting and/or adjudication, will be told, in advance, what information would need to be disclosed, to whom, and why.
At the same time, there are situations in which the College must override a person’s request for confidentiality, or request that the College not investigate or take action against an alleged perpetrator, in order to meet its legal obligations to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for the reporting person or others.
In select circumstances, a Title IX coordinator may sign a formal complaint and initiate an investigation and adjudication process without the participation of the person alleged to have experienced the sexual misconduct. In deciding that circumstances require an investigation, the Title IX coordinator may consider a variety of factors, including whether there is a pattern of alleged misconduct by a particular respondent, or whether the allegations involved significant physical injuries, assault or battery, threats of violence, use of weapons, or similar factors. The Title IX coordinator’s decision to sign a formal complaint generally will occur only after the Title IX coordinator has contacted the person alleged to have experienced the sexual misconduct to discuss the availability of supportive measures, considered their wishes with respect to supportive measures, and explained the process for filing a formal complaint. If a Title IX coordinator decides to sign a formal complaint themselves, the person alleged to have experienced sexual misconduct is invited but not required to participate in the investigation and
Other than a Title IX coordinator, no other third parties can file formal complaints, but they can report sexual misconduct as described above.