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Reporting and Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence

Know the Options

The College encourages survivors of sexual violence to talk to somebody about what happened, so victims can get the support they need, and so the College can respond appropriately. Different employees on campus have different abilities to maintain a victim’s confidentiality.

  • Some employees are required to maintain near complete confidentiality; talking to them is sometimes called a “privileged communication.”
  • Other employees may talk to a survivor in confidence, and generally only report to the College that an incident occurred without revealing any personally identifying information. Disclosures to these employees will not initiate a College investigation into an incident against the survivor’s wishes.
  • Some employees are required to report all the details of an incident (including the identities of both the survivor and alleged perpetrator) to the Title IX coordinator. A report to these employees (called “responsible employees”) constitutes a report to the College, and generally obligates the College to investigate the incident and take appropriate steps to address the situation.

This policy is intended to raise awareness to our students of the various reporting and confidential disclosure options available, so they can make informed choices about where to turn should they become a victim of sexual violence. The College encourages survivors to talk to someone identified in one or more of these groups.

Privileged and Confidential Communications

Professional and Pastoral Counselors

Professional, licensed counselors and pastoral counselors who provide mental-health counseling to members of the school community (and including those who act in that role under the supervision of a licensed counselor) are not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX coordinator without a survivor’s permission.

Contact Information:

  • Hampshire Health and Counseling Services, for counseling appointments: 413.559.5458
  • Center for Women and Community at UMass, multiple options for counseling available for all genders, 24/7 crisis hotline: 1.888.337.0800 or
  • Spiritual Life, (professional staff) for spiritually-based counseling and support: 413.559.5282

Non-professional Counselors and Advocates

Individuals who work on campus have been identified to a survivor without revealing any personally identifying information about an incident to the College. A survivor can seek assistance and support from these individuals without initiating a College investigation that could reveal the survivor’s identity or that the survivor has disclosed the incident.

While maintaining a survivor’s confidentiality, these individuals or their office(s) should report the nature, date, time, and general location of an incident to the Title IX coordinator. This limited report--which includes no information that would directly or indirectly identify the survivor--helps keep the Title IX coordinator informed 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. Before reporting any information to the Title IX coordinator, these individuals will consult with the survivor to ensure that no personally identifying details are shared with the Title IX coordinator.

Contact Information:

A survivor who speaks to a professional or non-professional counselor or advocate must understand that, if the survivor wants to maintain confidentiality, the College will be unable to conduct an investigation into the particular incident or pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator. A survivor who at first requests confidentiality may later decide to file a complaint with the school or report the incident to local law enforcement, and thus have the incident fully investigated. These counselors and advocates will provide the survivor with assistance if the survivor wishes to do so. 

Even so, these counselors and advocates will still assist the survivor in receiving other necessary protection and support, such as victim advocacy, academic support or accommodations, disability, health or mental health services, and changes to living, working or course schedules.

NOTE: While these professional and non-professional counselors and advocates may maintain a survivor’s confidentiality vis-à-vis the College, they may have reporting or other obligations under state law. [1]

Reporting to "Responsible Employees"

A “responsible employee” is a College employee who has the authority to redress sexual violence, who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence or other student misconduct, or is a person a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.

When a survivor tells a responsible employee about an incident of sexual violence, the survivor has the right to expect the College to take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate what happened and to resolve the matter promptly and equitably.

A responsible employee must report to the Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators all relevant details about the alleged sexual violence shared by the survivor and that the College will need to determine what happened, including the names of the survivor and alleged perpetrator(s), any witnesses, and any other relevant facts, including the date, time and specific location of the alleged incident.

To the extent possible, information reported to a responsible employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling the College’s response to the report. A responsible employee should not share information with law enforcement without the survivor’s consent or unless the survivor has also reported the incident to law enforcement.

Responsible Reporters

Hampshire College has decided to adopt a policy that defines all faculty, full time supervisory staff, and resident advisors as responsible reporters. This definition is necessary because both students and employees need to know to whom they can report a crime, discriminatory act, or sexual misconduct such that their report will be brought to the attention of appropriate administrators for investigation and response. While all employees are expected to report any crime, discriminatory act, or sexual misconduct to their supervisors, whether witnessed or reported, no employee or student should rely on giving a report to any person other than a responsible reporter for further investigation or response.

Faculty members are defined as all full-time and part-time assistant, associate and professors; visiting, adjuncts, staff-faculty associates, graduate teaching assistants, Five-College fellows; post-docs; alumni fellows, and any other position or rank that has or may be developed such that the individual has primary or significant responsibility for teaching undergraduate students.

Supervisory staff members are defined as all full-time employees including senior administrators, deans (including associate or assistant deans), directors and managers (including associate and assistant directors and managers); all campus police officers; and/or other full time employees who have any supervisory responsibilities.

Additionally, all contracted service partners, including without limitation Bon Appétit, Follett, Document Services and Printing/CBS, with respect to incidents or activities occurring or connected in any way with Hampshire College or its campus or programs.

The resident advisors (RA’s) are an essential part of Residence Life at Hampshire College. Resident advisors live among and provide support to the students in residence halls and mods. Resident advisors communicate campus and community expectations, address resident student behaviors that are not in compliance with Hampshire’s community norms, facilitate meetings within halls and mods, and plan and host community-building events. It is required for resident advisors to share reports that are made to them by resident students in their housing area.

Before a survivor reveals any information to a responsible employee, the employee should ensure that the survivor understands the employee’s reporting obligations – and, if the survivor wants to maintain confidentiality, direct the survivor to confidential resources.

If the survivor wants to tell the responsible employee what happened but also maintain confidentiality, the employee should tell the survivor that the College will consider the request, but cannot guarantee that the College will be able to honor it. In reporting the details of the incident to the Title IX coordinator, the responsible employee will also inform the coordinator of the survivor’s request for confidentiality.

Responsible employees will not pressure a survivor to request confidentiality, but will honor and support the survivor’s wishes, including for the College to investigate fully an incident. By the same token, responsible employees will not pressure a survivor to make a full report if the survivor is not ready to do so.

[1] Massachusetts law requires mandated reporters to immediately make an oral report to the Department of Children and Families when, in their professional capacity, they have reason to believe that a child under the age of 18 years is suffering from abuse and/or neglect. 

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