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Options for Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence

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Options for Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence

The State University of New York and Alfred State want you to get the information and support you need regardless of whether you would like to move forward with a report of sexual violence to campus officials or to police. You may want to talk with someone about something you observed or experienced, even if you are not sure that the behavior constitutes sexual violence. A conversation where questions can be answered is far superior to keeping something to yourself. Confidentiality varies, and this document is aimed at helping you understand how confidentiality applies to different resources that may be available to you.

In this Policy

  • Privileged and Confidential Resources
  • Non-Professional Counselors and Advocates
  • Privacy versus Confidentiality
  • Requesting Confidentiality: How the College/University Will Weigh the Request and Respond
  • Public Awareness/Advocacy Events
  • Anonymous Disclosure
  • Institutional Crime Reporting

Privileged and Confidential Resources

Individuals who are confidential resources will not report crimes to law enforcement or college officials without your permission, except for extreme circumstances, such as a health and/or safety emergency. At Alfred State, confidential resources can be accessed through:

Off-campus counselors and advocates. Crisis services offices will generally maintain confidentiality unless you request disclosure and sign a consent or waiver form. More information on an agency’s policies on confidentiality may be obtained directly from the agency. Off-campus options to disclose sexual violence confidentially do not provide any information to the campus and include:

  • Cattaraugus Community Action, Inc.
  • Sexual Assault Resource Center
  • Jones Memorial Hospital
    • Sexual Assault Nurse Practitioner (SANE)
  • Additional Resources

Off-campus healthcare providers. Please note that medical office and insurance billing practices may reveal information to the insurance policyholder, including medication and/or examinations paid for or administered. Local off-campus healthcare providers include:

The New York State Office of Victim Services may be able to assist in compensating victims/survivors for health care and counseling services, including emergency compensation. More information may be found here: https://ovs.ny.gov/help-crime-victims, or by calling 1-800-247-8035.

Please note that even individuals who can typically maintain confidentiality are subject to exceptions under the law, including when an individual is a threat to him or herself or others and the mandatory reporting of child abuse.

Non-Professional Counselors and Advocates

Non-professional counselors and advocates can also assist you without sharing information that could identify you. At Alfred State, this includes members of the college’s Title IX/Bias Response Committee; specifically the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators:

  • Title IX Coordinator
    • Nikkie Hockenberry, Coordinator for Equity, Inclusion & Title IX
    • Deputy Coordinators
      • Matthew Ryan, Senior Director of Residential Services
      • Casey Gross, Associate Dean for Judicial Affairs
      • Gina Boyd, Senior Women’s Administrator, Athletics

These individuals will report the nature, date, time, and general location of an incident to Alfred State's Title IX Coordinator, but will consult with you to ensure no personally identifying details are shared without your consent. These individuals are not considered confidential resources as discussed above.

Privacy versus Confidentiality

Even Alfred State offices and employees who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain your privacy to the greatest extent possible. The information you provide to a non-confidential resource will be relayed only as necessary to investigate and/or seek a resolution and to notify the Title IX Coordinator or designee, who is responsible under the law for tracking patterns and spotting systemic issues. Alfred State will limit the disclosure as much as possible, even if the Title IX Coordinator determines that the request for confidentiality cannot be honored.

Requesting Confidentiality: How Alfred State Will Weigh the Request and Respond

If you disclose an incident to an Alfred State employee who is responsible for responding to or reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment, but wish to maintain confidentiality or do not consent to the institution’s request to initiate an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator must weigh your request against our obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of our community, including you.

We will assist you with academic, housing, transportation, employment, and other reasonable and available accommodations regardless of your reporting choices. While victims/survivors may request accommodations through several college offices, the following office can serve as a primary point of contact to assist with these measures:

We also may take proactive steps, such as training or awareness efforts, to combat sexual violence in a general way that does not identify you or the situation you disclosed.

We may seek consent from you prior to conducting an investigation. You may decline to consent to an investigation, and that determination will be honored unless the Alfred State’s failure to act may result in harm to you or other members of the Alfred State community. Honoring your request may limit our ability to meaningfully investigate and pursue conduct action against an accused individual. If we determine that an investigation is required, we will notify you and take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist you.

When you disclose an incident to someone who is responsible for responding to or reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment, but wish to maintain confidentiality, Alfred State will consider many factors to determine whether to proceed despite that request. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Whether the accused has a history of violent behavior or is a repeat offender;
  • Whether the incident represents escalation, such as a situation that previously involved sustained stalking;
  • The increased risk that the accused will commit additional acts of violence;
  • Whether the accused used a weapon or force;
  • Whether the victim/survivor is a minor; and
  • Whether we possess other means to obtain evidence such as security footage, and whether the report reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group.

Public Awareness/Advocacy Events

If you disclose a situation through a public awareness event such as “Take Back the Night,” candlelight vigils, protests, “Tunnel of Oppression,” or other public event, Alfred State is not obligated to begin an investigation. Alfred State may use the information you provide to inform the need for additional education and prevention efforts.

Anonymous Disclosure

At Alfred State the University Police Department provides an online form for reporting crime:

The New York State Hotline for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence provides crisis intervention, resources, and referrals but is not a reporting mechanism.

  • Hotline: 1-800-942-6906

Institutional Crime Reporting

Reports of certain crimes occurring in certain geographic locations will be included in the Alfred State Clery Act Annual Security Report in an anonymized manner that neither identifies the specifics of the crime or the identity of the victim/survivor. For assistance accessing this information or questions about how it is used, please contact University Police, the Title IX Coordinator, or Deputy Coordinators.

Alfred State is obligated to issue timely warnings of Clery Act crimes occurring within relevant geography that represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees (subject to exceptions when potentially compromising law enforcement efforts and when the warning itself could potentially identify the victim/survivor). A victim/survivor will never be identified in a timely warning.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act allows institutions to share information with parents when (1) there is a health or safety emergency, or (2) when the student is a dependent on either parents’ prior year federal income tax return. Generally, Alfred State will not share information about a report of sexual violence with parents without the permission of the victim/survivor.

This document was developed from the SUNY Policies on Sexual Violence Prevention and Response
(December 1, 2014)