Confidentiality

CONFIDENTIALITY

ORU is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in a report of sexual misconduct, including sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. ORU encourages individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct to talk about what happened with appropriate individual(s) based upon the guidance set forth below.  Privacy and confidentiality have distinct meanings under this policy, and different people on campus have different legal reporting responsibilities, and different abilities to maintain privacy or confidentiality, depending on their roles at ORU.

In making a decision about whom to contact for support and information, it is important to understand that, except as noted below, ORU employees are not confidential resources, and are therefore obligated to report to the University any information they receive about sexual misconduct.  Persons who have experienced sexual misconduct are encouraged to consider the following information in choosing whom to contact for information and support.

Confidential Resources

Confidential communications are those communications which legally cannot be disclosed to another person, without the reporter’s consent, except under very limited circumstances such as allegations involving the physical or sexual abuse of a child (under the age of 18) or vulnerable adult or an imminent threat to the life of any person.  ORU recognizes that some individuals may wish to keep their concerns confidential.  Individuals who desire the details of sexual misconduct to be kept confidential should speak with a medical professional, professional counselor, minister or other pastoral counselor, or trained victims’ advocates. These resources include:

•       Dr. Clarence Boyd, Men’s Chaplain/Dean of Spiritual Formation, 918-495-7767, cboyd@oru.edu

•       Carol Holderness, Women’s Chaplain, 918-495-7726, cholderness@oru.edu

•       Michelle Taylor, Student Counseling Services Director, 918-495-6581, mtaylor@oru.edu

•       Rachel Sligar, Student Counseling Services Counselor, 918-495-6581, rsligar@oru.edu).

•       Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS) Call Rape  918-743-5763

A person who speaks to a confidential resource should understand that, if the person does not report the concern to ORU, ORU will be unable to provide certain interim or protective measures that would require involvement from the University, such as issuing a no-contact directive, or conduct an investigation into the particular incident or pursue disciplinary or corrective action.

Non-Confidential Communications

Non-confidential communications are those communications with any ORU employee who is not a confidential resource as identified above.  Only confidential resources can promise confidentiality.  All other ORU employees who become aware of incidents or allegations of sexual misconduct have a responsibility to report the matter to the Title IX Coordinator. 

Allegations of policy violations will be considered private and will only be shared with other ORU employees on a need-to-know basis.  In addition, the allegations will not be shared with law enforcement without the consent of the individual who has alleged the sexual misconduct, unless the allegations relate to physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect of a child under the age of 18 (see the Mandatory Reporting Concerning Minors section below for more information).

ORU faculty and staff who are not confidential resources will strive to remind an individual of their reporting obligations before the individual has disclosed a situation that requires reporting to the Title IX Coordinator. 

Requests for Confidentiality or Non-action

When ORU receives a report of sexual misconduct, it has a legal obligation to respond in a timely and appropriate manner.  Making a report to ORU does not require an individual to begin or participate in a complaint resolution process or to report to local law enforcement.  However, based on the information gathered, ORU may determine that it has a responsibility to move forward with a complaint resolution process (even without the participation of the individual who has alleged the sexual misconduct).  In a situation in which the individual requests that their name or other identifiable information not be shared with the accused, or that no action be taken against the accused, ORU will evaluate the request considering the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged conduct, the respective ages and roles of the individual who has alleged the sexual misconduct and the accused, whether there have been other complaints or reports of harassment or misconduct against the accused, and the ability to conduct an investigation without revealing identifiable information, and the extent of any threat to the ORU community. 

ORU will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation made by the individual who has alleged the sexual misconduct, however, the scope of the response by ORU may be impacted or limited based on the nature of the individual’s request.  The Title IX Coordinator may determine that the individual’s request for confidentiality or no action cannot be honored.  In this instance, the Title IX Coordinator or the Title IX Coordinator’s designee(s) will inform the individual about the chosen course of action, which may include an investigation of the incident(s) reported, and may, at the individual’s request, communicate to the accused that the individual asked ORU not to investigate and that ORU determined it needed to do so.  Alternatively, action could include steps to limit the effects of the alleged misconduct and prevent its recurrence that do not involve an investigation or formal disciplinary action against the accused or reveal the identity of the individual who has alleged the sexual misconduct.  In order to protect the rights and safety of this community, ORU reserves the right to take whatever measures deemed necessary in response to an allegation of sexual misconduct.  While ORU cannot guarantee confidentiality, it will strive to accommodate the individual’s requests to the extent possible consistent with its legal obligations to respond effectively to reports.  In instances where ORU moves forward with a complaint resolution process without the participation of the individual who has alleged the sexual misconduct, the individual who is alleged to have been subject to the misconduct will have the same rights as provided to a complainant under this policy even if the individual is not named as a complainant.

Clery Act Reporting and Timely Warning

Pursuant to the Clery Act, ORU includes statistics about certain offenses in its annual security report and provides those statistics to the United States Department of Education in a manner that does not include any personally identifying information about individuals involved in an incident.  In addition, the Clery Act requires ORU to issue a crime alert (timely warning) to the campus community about certain reported offenses which may represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees.  The timely warning may include that an incident has been reported, general information surrounding the incident, and how incidents of a similar nature might be prevented in the future.  The timely warning will not include any identifying information about the individual who has alleged the sexual misconduct. 

All ORU processes are conducted in compliance with the requirements of FERPA, the Clery Act, Title IX, and state and federal law. No information shall be released from such processes except as required or permitted by law and consistent with ORU policy.