Other Issues to Consider

Confidentiality

When reviewing allegations of discrimination or sexual misconduct, Mount Holyoke College strives to respect the survivor's wish for confidentiality.  The College will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to a complaint in a manner that is consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation.  Individuals should note that requests for confidentiality will limit the College’s ability to investigate. 

Confidentiality is not always possible or appropriate. The College has the responsibility to balance the requests for confidentiality with our institutional responsibility of ensuring a safe educational environment and workplace.  An individual's requests regarding the confidentiality of a report of discrimination or sexual misconduct will be considered in determining an appropriate response. Factors the College will consider when making this assessment include: the seriousness of the alleged harassment; the complainant’s age; whether there have been other harassment complaints about the same individual; and the alleged harasser’s rights to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained by the school as an “education record” under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 C.F.R. Part 99. 

Please note that staff within offices that hold legal confidentiality, such as the Counseling Service or Health Serviices are exempted from this confidentiality statement, except as otherwise required by law.  Because content of discussions with confidential resources noted above is not reported, such discussions do not serve as notice to the College to address the alleged discrimination or sexual misconduct.

Employees of the College are mandated to report instances of harrassment and discrimination that they witness or that is reported to them.

MHC Anonymous Reporting

If you disclose a sexual assault to a Mount Holyoke staff member they must report it using the MHC Sexual Assault Centralized Report Form. This form does not include your name. It includes only a minimal amount of general information about the sexual assault for federal Clery Act purposes. It is also included in statistics used to reduce the future incidence of such crimes. The only staff members exempt from this requirement are individuals working as counselors in the Counseling Service and in Religious and Spiritual Life.

Prosecution

If you decide to make a sexual assault report to Campus Police this does not mean that you must go to court and prosecute. Decisions about possible prosecution are made later. Filing a sexual assault report preserves evidence and documents the incident to protect your rights. You are involved in all decisions about proceeding with criminal charges. By Massachusetts state law, your name on all sexual assault reports is kept confidential and will not be released without your permission.