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Sunday, September 07, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "New IU guide details sexual misconduct reporting responsibilities"

A story today in the Bloomington Herald-Times, by MJ Slaby, reports:

If a student comes to an Indiana University employee to share an experience of sexual misconduct, a new guide from the university aims to be that employee’s first resource.

The guide is part of ongoing changes to prevent and respond to sexual violence at IU and helps clarify which employees, universitywide, are obligated to report sexual misconduct to a Title IX coordinator, said Emily Springston, IU associate general counsel. * * *

Employees obligated to report incidents include all who work with students directly or “employees that students might reasonably believe have some authority to take action or a duty to report,” according to the guide. That includes all instructors, advisers, coaches and athletic staff, residential hall staff, employees in offices that see students and all supervisors and university officials. * * *

The guide tells employees to provide support and encourage seeking help, yet avoid counseling or pressuring students. Employees should also remind students that employees are obligated to report such incidents and can’t keep absolute confidentiality. However, employees are expected to respect the privacy of all involved.

Certain employees are considered confidential and not obligated to report, including “licensed, professional mental health counselors” and “staff in the student advocates offices specifically designated as nonprofessional sexual assault advocates for students,” according to the guide.

The guide is being given to employees at training sessions, meetings such as the Bloomington Faculty Council meeting on Tuesday and meetings with deans and department leaders, she said. It is also part of the newly unveiled stopsexualviolence.iu.edu website, she said.

Springston said the guide isn’t law, but could be as part of proposed legislation. And as the law changes, the guide may change as well, she added. But she said that doesn’t mean only obligated employees should report sexual misconduct.

“We feel everyone has an ethical responsibility to report,” she said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 7, 2014 01:00 PM
Posted to Indiana Government