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Guide for Faculty and Staff on Responding to Disclosures
Click here to view a Quick Reference Guide. Read below for more detailed information.
Q1: Am I a responsible employee?
A: You are a “Responsible Employee” if you are employed by the College outside the Health and Wellness Center. Responsible Employee is a term used by the Department of Education to indicate an employee whom a student might reasonably believe has the authority to respond to a sexual misconduct, or an employee whom the school has requested to report sexual harassment complaints that are made to him or her. At Lake Forest College, all faculty, staff and student employees are considered “responsible employees” and are required to report information regarding sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator.
Q2: What are my obligations as a responsible employee?
A: Responsible Employees are required to immediately report to the Title IX Coordinator any information they receive regarding an alleged incident of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or related retaliation involving a member of the College community.
Q3: Is there language I should include on my syllabus about sexual misconduct reporting?
A. Yes, the following language is recommended for syllabi:
Lake Forest College is committed to providing students with a safe learning environment. College policy prohibits sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sex discrimination, non-consensual sexual penetration and contact, dating/domestic violence, and stalking. More information regarding the College’s policy can be found at https://www.lakeforest.edu/sexualmisconduct/
As a faculty member, I am required by College policy and law to report incidents of sexual misconduct of which I am informed, whether in written assignments or in person, to the College’s Title IX Coordinator at TitleIXCoordinator@lakeforest.edu, 847-735-6009. The Title IX Coordinator will ensure that the student receives information about support resources and complaint resolution options. If you have experienced sexual misconduct and wish to seek support without having the incident reported to the Title IX Coordinator, there are confidential resources you can talk to on and off campus. They are:
- Lake Forest College Health and Wellness Center 847-735-5240 (after hours 224-501-1621)
- Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center in Gurnee: 847-872-7799
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE
- Illinois Domestic Violence Help Line: 877-863-6338 (Chicago area)
Please contact the Title IX Coordinator for more information about your options and College sexual misconduct policies and procedures.
Q4: What do I do/say if a student contacts me to discuss an incident sexual misconduct?
A: It is important that you inform the student of your obligations as a responsible employee before the student begins to share details in case he or she does not want the incident to be reported to the Title IX Coordinator. That could sound something like:
“Thank you for coming to me. I am sorry this has happened to you. Before you continue, I need to tell you that I am required by the Department of Education to report what you tell me to the College’s Title IX Coordinator, who will review the information and determine what, if any, further action should be taken. If you would rather keep this information confidential, there are other on-campus confidential employees, as well as off-campus confidential resources with whom you can speak. Reporting to a confidential employee or off-campus resource will not result in a report to the Title IX Coordinator.”
Q5: What do I do if a student comes to me and I am unsure as to what I need to do?
A: Be honest with the student. Inform them that the information they told you is important, and that in order to effectively assist them you need to quickly check to make sure you are responding appropriately. You can then consult this information or contact the Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Faculty, Dean of Students, or Director of Human Resources for assistance.
Q6: What do I do if the student tells me he/she wants to contact a confidential resource?
A: Do not ask any further questions of the student. If the student has already disclosed sexual misconduct to you, you must share the information with the Title IX Coordinator. Show the student how to access that list of confidential employees/resources on the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy website or provide them with the following information:
- Lake Forest College Health and Wellness Center: 847-735-5240 (after hours 224-501-1621).
- Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center in Gurnee: 847-872-7799
- Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline: 888-293-2080
- National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
Q7: Do I need to report second-hand information or disclosures contained in written assignments?
A: The College has an on-going obligation to respond to sexual misconduct of which it knew or should have known. Because additional inquiry into rumors or second-hand information may yield information of a violation, you are required to report rumors or second-hand information. You are also required to report sexual misconduct disclosed in writing assignments. However, you are not required to report information you obtain during “Take Back the Night,” the Clothesline Project, candlelight vigils, protests, “survivor speak outs” or other similar forums. In every other case, you should error on the side of reporting and let the Title IX Coordinator determine the next course of action.
Q8: Do I need to report an incident that occurred off-campus or while school was not in session?
A: Yes. The College has an obligation to address any incident that impacts a student’s ability to access his or her education. Therefore, responsible employees are required to report to the Title IX Coordinator information received regarding on and off campus conduct, as well as incidents that occurred while school was not in session.
Q9. Is there any other information I should provide to a student that discloses information regarding sexual misconduct?
A: If the student indicates that he or she wants to discuss the incident with you, you should listen to the information that he or she tells you. When relevant, you should inform the student that he or she should preserve any evidence relating to the alleged misconduct, such as electronic messages, voicemails or physical evidence. Physical evidence can be preserved with a medical exam at the ER. You should also confirm that the student feels safe leaving your meeting. If the student is in danger, help them to call 911 or Public Safety. It is not your personal responsibility to provide a safe place for the student—your role is to guide the student to on-campus and off-campus resources (listed above) that can get the student the services he or she needs.
Q10: Is there anything I should NOT say to a student who discloses sexual misconduct?
A: Try not to act shocked by the information provided to you and do not push the student for additional details. Keep in mind that you are not responsible for investigating the incident; you are only responsible for reporting the information to the Title IX Coordinator. Do not promise confidentiality.
Q11: What information am I expected to provide when making a report to the Title IX Coordinator?
A: You are expected to tell the Title IX Coordinator everything you know about the incident. Typically, this will include:
- Name of the involved persons
- Date of alleged incident
- Date on which reporter learned of alleged incident
- Specific location where alleged incident occurred
- Time of alleged incident
- Nature of the alleged incident
- Any other information the student provided to you
Q12: Once I have filed my report with a Title IX Coordinator, do I have other responsibilities?
A: An employee who reports an incident may be questioned during an investigation of the reported misconduct.
Q13: Who can I call with additional questions or if I need additional support?
A: LaShun McGhee, the campus Title IX Coordinator, can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 847-735-6009. If the Title IX Coordinator is not immediately available, you should contact the Dean of Faculty, Dean of Students, or the Director of Human Resources. Employees can also contact the Health and Wellness Center with concerns or for guidance on responding to distressed students.