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VI. Privacy and Confidentiality

Hampshire College is committed to protecting the privacy of the parties involved in a report under this policy, and will respect the wishes of the Complainant to the extent possible without impeding its investigation and/or its ability to end harassment and eliminate a hostile environment. The College is also committed to providing assistance to help Complainants make informed choices.  All parties have the right to decline to participate in the College’s investigation and hearing processes at any time, with the understanding that the College will only be able to take action on the information available through the exercise of reasonable care. It is expected that any materials and information prepared or obtained under the investigation process will be shared with those parties who have a legitimate need to know consistent with law and policy. Disclosure of such information may also be made necessary if permissible by law and the Title IX Coordinator determines in their judgment that disclosure is necessary for the safety and well-being of the Hampshire College community.

A.  DISTINCTION BETWEEN PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

Privacy and confidentiality have distinct meanings under this policy.

Privacy: Privacy generally means that information related to a report of misconduct will be shared with a limited circle of individuals who “need to know” in order to assist in the active review, investigation, resolution of the report, and related issues. All Hampshire College employees who are involved in Hampshire’s Title IX response receive specific training and guidance about safeguarding private information in accordance with applicable laws.

The privacy of Student education records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The privacy of an individual’s medical and related records generally are protected in the United States by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), excepting health records protected by FERPA. 

Confidentiality: Confidentiality exists in the context of laws that protect certain relationships, including with medical and clinical care providers (and those who provide administrative services related to the provision of medical and clinical care), mental health providers, counselors, and ordained clergy, all of whom may engage in confidential communications under Massachusetts law. The college has designated individuals who have the ability to have privileged communications as “Confidential Employees.”  When information is shared by an individual with a Confidential Employee or a community professional with the same legal protections, the Confidential Employee cannot reveal the information to any third party except when an applicable law or a court order requires or permits disclosure of such information.  For example, information may be disclosed when: (i) the individual gives written consent for its disclosure; (ii) there is an imminent threat of the individual causing serious harm to self or others; (iii) the information concerns conduct involving suspected abuse or neglect of a minor under the age of 18, which must be reported to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families’ Child Protection Hotline at 1-800-792-5200 or (iv) as otherwise required or permitted by law or court order, including reporting felony crimes to State Police. 

B.  EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITY TO REPORT DISCLOSURES OF INFORMATION ABOUT SEXUAL MISCONDUCT VIOLATIONS

It is important to understand the different responsibilities of Hampshire College Employees. Every Hampshire College Employee is designated as a “Responsible Employee”, a “Confidential Employee” or a “Private Employee.”

A “Responsible Employee” is any Employee who is not a Confidential or Private Employee.  A Responsible Employee is required to immediately report to the College’s Title IX Coordinator all relevant details (obtained directly or indirectly) about Sexual Misconduct Violations that involve a College Student or Employee as a Complainant or Respondent, including dates, times, locations, and names of parties and witnesses.  Responsible Employees include Resident Advisors, Teaching Assistants, EMTs, and all other student-employees when disclosures are made to any of them in their capacities as employees.  If a Complainant requests (a) that personally-identifying information not be shared with the Respondent, (b) that no investigation be pursued, and/or (c) that no disciplinary action be taken, the College will seek to honor this request unless there is a health or safety risk to the Complainant or to any member of the College community.  Section VII.A. of the Policy provides additional information about remedial and protective measures.

Responsible Employees are not required to report information disclosed (1) at public awareness events (e.g., “survivor speak-outs”, candlelight vigils, protests, or other public forums in which students may disclose Sexual Misconduct Violations; collectively “Public Awareness Events”; or (2) during an individual’s participation as a subject in an Institutional Review Board-approved human subjects research protocol (“IRB Research”). The College may provide information about Title IX rights and about available College and community resources and support at Public Awareness Events, however, and Institutional Review Boards may, in appropriate cases, require researchers to provide such information to all subjects of IRB research.

A “Confidential Employee” is (1) any Employee who is a licensed medical, clinical, or mental-health professional (e.g. physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants, psychologists, psychiatrists, professional counselors and social workers, and those performing services under their supervision), when acting in that professional role in the provision of services of a patient who is a Student; and (2) any Employee providing administrative, operational and/or related support for such health care providers in their performance of such services. A Confidential Employee will not disclose information about Sexual Misconduct Violations to the College’s Title IX Coordinator without the individual’s permission (subject to the exceptions set forth in the Confidentiality section of this policy).

Private Employees: Are a small subsection of Responsible Employees who have the ability to receive reports and share information with the Title IX Coordinator in a manner that preserves the anonymity of the Complainant.  These include the Director of Survivor Supports, Director of Wellness Promotion, Director for Queer/Women Services and Peer Chaplains.  In order to foster increased reporting, Hampshire has designated these individuals as reporting options. In turn, these resources are permitted to share the report with the Title IX Coordinator in a manner that initially excludes personally identifiable information about the Complainant or witness.  In the event that the resource and/or the Title IX Coordinator determine that the reported conduct poses a potential threat to the health or safety of any campus community member, the resource may be required to share personally identifiable information.  This manner of reporting may help inform the Title IX Coordinator of the general extent and nature of sexual violence on and off campus so the Coordinator can track patterns, evaluate the scope of the problem, and formulate appropriate campus-wide responses. Without the sharing of personally-identifiable information, however, the Title IX Coordinator’s ability to respond may be limited.   In addition, unlike Confidential Employees, who have statutorily-protected legal confidentiality, records maintained by these resources may be subject to release by court order, search warrant or subpoena.

  • Director of Survivor Supports, Wellness Center, 413.559.4510
  • Ashley Netanel, Associate Director of Wellness Promotion, Wellness Center, 413.559.5743
  • Emily Rimmer, Director for Queer/Women Services, Center for Feminisms, 413.559.5320
  • Peer Chaplains, peerchaplains@hampshire.edu

Clery Act Reporting: Pursuant to the Clery Act, Hampshire College includes statistics about certain offenses in its daily crime log and annual security report and provides those statistics to the United States Department of Education, but does so in a manner that does not include any identifying information about persons involved in an incident.  The College will also assess a report of misconduct for the need to issue a timely warning under the Clery Act.  If a report of misconduct discloses a serious and continuing threat to the campus community, where timely notice must be given to protect the health or safety of the community, the College is required to issue a timely notification to the community under the Clery Act. The timely warning will not provide any identifying information about the Complainant.