There are three federal laws that establish responsibilities for employees of colleges to report certain types of crimes and incidents, especially sexual misconduct—the Clery Act, Title VII and Title IX. The responsibilities established by these laws give rise to the term “mandated reporter" or "mandatory reporter." If an employee learns about sexual harassment, discrimination, or sexual assault involving a student, the employee should promptly report the information, because Franklin & Marshall College has adopted a policy that defines all faculty and professional staff as mandated reporters.
The following outline is intended to be a straightforward guide for mandated reporters to follow in the reporting of sexual assault or harassment of a student in accordance with Title IX.
The manner in which a faculty or administrative staff member learns of possible harassment or assault is often not straightforward; for example, a student may describe an event or behavior in an offhand way without intending to make a complaint or even to seek advice. On other occasions, students very deliberately come to a trusted adult to make a report and to seek help. The simple steps below are intended as a general guide for all cases, recognizing that the following steps may take place in varying order.
1. A student intentionally/unintentionally discloses to a faculty member or member of the professional staff what s/he perceives as inappropriate behavior (sexual harassment or assault) by a faculty member, another student, a college employee, or contracted worker of the College.
Note: The communication is considered a disclosure regardless of whether the student provides the name(s) of the individual(s) engaging in the inappropriate behavior. It is not necessary to solicit this information from the student. However, once the faculty or professional staff member has this information, he or she must report it along with the report of the behavior.
2. The faculty or professional staff member should inform the student about the faculty/professional staff member’s need to report the disclosure, assuring the student of privacy but not anonymity.
Regardless of the order in which the prior two events have taken place, the next step is to make a report. To help protect the privacy of the student and others involved and to assure that proper protocol is followed, faculty and professional staff should not discuss the matter with anyone else outside of the two individuals listed below, i.e., do not contact ANY other individual, including any supervisor, academic chair or administrative department head, about the matter unless you are specifically advised to do so after speaking with one of the two individuals listed below.
The faculty/professional staff member should make contact with Title IX Coordinator Jan Masland, (717-358- 7178), to report and receive guidance on next steps.
1. A student comes into your office and says that she/he has something to tell you but you cannot tell anyone else. What do you do?
As a mandated reporter you will be required to report anything you are told that is covered under the Clery Act. This includes any felony including sexual assault. When in doubt, report. If at all possible, stop the student before they go further and explain to them that you cannot assure confidentiality because you are a mandated reporter. Tell them that if what they tell you is of a serious nature you will have to report it to a College official. Assure them that you are happy to listen to them but that you could also help them to arrange to tell someone who can assure confidentiality: Counseling Services, Appel Health Services, the College Chaplain or the Sexual Assault Response Line. If it is between 8:30 and 5:00 you could offer to accompany them to one of these offices. If not, the SARL (717-560-7311) is an excellent resource. If the student chooses to continue and tells you of a sexual assault, report all of the information that you have been given to Title IX Coordinator Jan Masland within 24 hours, (717-358-7178.)
2. You are waiting for a colleague in the LSP Atrium and seated next to you are two female students. You overhear their conversation and it involves one of the women telling the other that she was trapped by a male acquaintance in a bedroom at a party on Saturday night. The man attempted to force her to have sex with him and groped her before she could get away. The victim states that she is afraid of seeing him on campus. What do you do?
This scenario constitutes notice to the College of a sexual assault. As a College employee you must report this. There are several ways that you could approach this depending on your appraisal of the situation and your comfort level. You could approach the students and tell them that you are concerned about what you are hearing and advise them to go to one of the confidential resources on campus. (It is important to attempt to identify at least one of the speakers by name.) You could ask the victim if she will tell you more about the situation and let you assist her in finding the proper resources. In either event you will also need to tell the students that, as a mandated reporter, you will need to report the conversation. If you find that neither of these responses is appropriate, you should attempt to identify the women who are speaking and report what you know to Title IX Coordinator Jan Masland.
3. You ask one of your students if they are OK because you have noticed that they appeared to be unhappy and distracted in class. The student bursts into tears and blurts that a nonstudent who lives in Lancaster raped her over the weekend. What do you do?
The fact that the rapist was a non-student does not impact your obligation as a mandated reporter. The College is obligated to investigate and to ensure the safety of the College community. As the student is distressed it is important to act at the moment. The best option would be to walk the student to Counseling Services. If it is not during office hours, call the Sexual Assault Response Line (717- 560-7311) with the student. She/he will be put in touch with a responder who can grant confidentiality, however, you are required to report what you have been told by the student to the Title IX coordinator.
4. A student tells you that he has a friend who has told him that she was raped on campus last weekend. What do you do?
You are not tasked with investigating. Simply report the name of the reporting student to Jan Masland. You will want to inform the student that you are required to report this information and reassure him that it will be treated with concern for both his privacy and the victim’s privacy. You should also tell him that he will be contacted by Jan Masland who will ask for more information about the incident. If the student is not a mandated reporter, he will not be required to give the name of the victim although he will be encouraged to do so for the safety of both the victim and the campus population in general. *These scenarios all present situations in which a student is the victim. Should you encounter a situation in which the victim is not a student, e.g. staff, faculty, visitor, please call Title IX Coordinator Jan Masland for guidance. These incidents must be reported but the process may be different.