Confidentiality: How Boston College Will Weigh the Request and Respond
The University respects the privacy interests of victims of sexual violence, and will protect the confidentiality of the individuals involved to the fullest extent possible. In responding to a victim’s requests for academic, living, or working adjustments, the University will limit disclosures to the minimum number of staff necessary to make reasonable adjustments. (The University has designated the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator to evaluate student requests for confidentiality in connection with reporting sexual misconduct.) As described more fully in the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Coordinator will weigh a student’s request for confidentiality against the University’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the victim. The University does not include the names or other identifying information of victims of alleged sexual violence in any publicly available documents, including any publicly available police reports, logs, or safety notices.
If a victim discloses an incident but requests confidentiality or that no investigation into a particular incident be pursued or no action through the conduct system be taken, the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with a small number of key University administrators, which may include representatives of the Office of the Dean of Students, the Boston College Police Department, and the Office of the General Counsel, will weigh the request against the University’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the victim.
When weighing a victim’s request for confidentiality or that no investigation or conduct process be pursued, the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator will consider a range of factors, including whether:
The alleged perpetrator is likely to commit additional acts of sexual or other violence, such as:
- Whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the same alleged perpetrator;
- Whether the alleged perpetrator has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of violence; and
- Whether the alleged perpetrator threatened further sexual violence or
other violence against the victim or others.
- Whether the sexual misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators.
- The sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon or with force.
- The victim is a minor.
- Boston College possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the sexual violence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence).
- The victim’s report reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group.
The presence of one or more of these factors could lead the University to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue conduct action against the respondent. If none of these factors are present, the University will likely respect the victim’s request.
If Boston College honors a victim’s request for confidentiality or decision not to participate in an investigation, the University’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident or pursue conduct action against the alleged perpetrator(s) maybe limited.
In some cases, usually rare, the University may not be able to honor a victim’s confidentiality request in order to adhere to its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students. If the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator determines that the University cannot maintain a victim’s confidentiality, the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator will inform the victim prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling the University’s response.