Options for Confidential Disclosure (Section 6446)
1. In accordance with Article 129-B, Section 6446, Five Towns College ensures that reporting individuals have the following:
a. Information regarding privileged and confidential resources they may contact regarding domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault;
b. Information about counselors and advocates they may contact-on and off-campus – regarding domestic
violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault;
c. Confidentiality and Five Towns College offices and employees who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain privacy to the greatest extent possible. The information provided to a non-confidential resource will be relayed only as necessary for the Title IX Coordinator to investigate and/or seek a resolution;
d. Further, if a reporting individual discloses an incident to an institution employee who is responsible for responding to or reporting domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault but wishes to maintain confidentiality or does not consent to the institution’s request to initiate an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator must weigh the request against the institution’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of its community. The institution shall assist with academic, housing, transportation, employment, and other reasonable and available accommodations regardless of reporting choices;
e. Information about public awareness and advocacy events, including guarantees that if an individual discloses information through a public awareness event such as candlelight vigils, protests, or other public event, the institution is not obligated to begin an investigation based on such information. However, the College may use the information provided at such an event to inform its efforts for additional education and prevention efforts;
f. Information about existing and available methods to anonymously disclose including, but not limited to information on relevant confidential hotlines provided by New York state agencies and not-for-profit entities;
g. Information regarding institutional crime reporting including, but not limited to: reports of certain crimes occurring in specific geographic locations that shall be included in the institution’s annual security report pursuant to the Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. 1092(f), in an anonymized manner that identifies neither the specifics of the crime nor the identity of the reporting individual; that the institution is obligated to issue timely warnings of crimes enumerated in the Clery Act occurring within relevant geography that represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees, except in those circumstances where issuing such a warning may compromise current law enforcement efforts or when the warning itself could potentially identify the reporting individual; that a reporting individual shall not be identified in a timely warning; that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g, allows institutions to share information with parents when i. there is a health or safety emergency, or ii. when the student is a dependent on either parent’s prior year federal income tax return; and that generally, the institution shall not share information about a report of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault with parents without the permission of the reporting individual.
h. The institution may take proactive steps, such as training or awareness efforts, to combat domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault in a general way that does not identify those who disclose or the information disclosed.
i. If the institution determines that an investigation is required, it shall notify the reporting individuals and take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist them.
2. The institution should seek consent from reporting individuals prior to conducting an investigation. Declining to consent to an investigation shall be honored unless the institution determines in good faith that failure to investigate does not adequately mitigate a potential risk of harm to the reporting individual or other members of the community. Honoring such a request may limit the institution’s ability to meaningfully investigate and pursue conduct action against an accused individual. Factors used to determine whether to honor such a request include, but are not limited to:
a. Whether the accused has a history of violent behavior or is a repeat offender;
b. Whether the incident represents escalation in unlawful conduct on behalf of the accused from previously noted behavior;
c. The increased risk that the accused will commit additional acts of violence;
d. Whether the accused used a weapon or force;
e. Whether the reporting individual is a minor; and
f. Whether the institution possesses other means to obtain evidence such as security footage, and whether available information reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group.