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Guidance for Faculty and Staff

All University faculty, staff, and student employees are listed as responsible employees under Policy 1340 and are required to report disclosures of sexual misconduct to Title IX. 

If you are a responsible employee and someone has reported an incident of sexual misconduct to you, you are put in a unique situation. Students or other faculty or staff members may come to you and share about their experience regarding sexual assault because they trust you, and you are required to report these disclosures to Title IX while still honoring their confidentiality.

Also sexual assault can be hard to understand. When you learn about an individual's experience, some common victim responses may seem counter-intuitive if you are not familiar with the trauma that is associated with sexual assault. To name a few, there may be a lapse in memory, short-term memory loss, or delayed recall. Responding to disclosures of sexual assault is important because you may be the first person the individual speaks to about their traumatic experiences, and it's crucial to keep in mind the effects trauma has on an individual.

Here are some tips to remember when handling a situation such as this:

  • Thank them for trusting you with information about their traumatic experience.
  • Validate their feelings.
  • Do not be judgmental or question their experience.
  • Remind the individual that you are required to report their experience to Title IX but that their information is kept confidential under FERPA. Information will only be shared on a need-to-know basis so that Title IX can connect them to advocacy resources and/or provide interim measures.
  • Connect them to Title IX and report the incident.
  • Inform the individual that Title IX will contact them providing them with information about resources, but it is the individual's decision if they want to respond back to Title IX's outreach.
  • Ask how you can help them.

If you provide or support the provision of counseling, advocacy, health, mental health, or sexual assault-related services or have an affiliation with pastoral or religious counselors and serve members of the University community who have experienced sexual misconduct, you are exempt from reporting incidents of sexual misconduct to Title IX. Please review confidential resources in Policy 1340 so you know who you are.

Other Resources

JMU Employee Title IX Review - a video that provides a brief reminder of reporting responsibilities and how to handle a disclosure of sexual misconduct 

Guidance Checklist for Faculty and Staff (pdf) - guidance on meeting the obligations of being a responsible reporter while handling a disclosure of sexual misconduct

Title IX Syllabus Statement Recommendations (pdf) - two recommended statements that clearly state faculty's responsibility to report disclosures of sexual misconduct and provide guidance to students on JMU supportive resources

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If you have any questions on how to report or want to learn more, please contact our office at (540) 568-5219 or titleix@jmu.edu. We would love to address any concerns or answer any of your questions! 

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