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Privacy and Confidentiality: Considering Your Options

Important Information: Students may be hesitant to report sexual misconduct or relationship violence out of concern that they might be charged with violations of the University’s Drug and Alcohol Policy. While alcohol and drug use is neither permitted nor condoned, BSU places greatest priority on the need to assist victims of sexual  and relationship violence and generally does not pursue disciplinary actions against a student who reports in good faith.

Requests for Confidentiality or for no investigation

If a victim discloses an incident of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and/or retaliation, but requests that the University maintain confidentiality or that no investigation or disciplinary action occur, the University will weigh the request against its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for its entire community, including the victim, and its obligation to comply with applicable laws. It is important to understand that BSU’s ability to meaningfully investigate an incident and pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator(s) may be limited if the University honors a confidentiality or no investigation request.

For a complete listing of confidential and non-confidential reporting options, please view the comprehensive guide.

In consultation with Campus Police and other University personnel as necessary, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate a request for confidentiality or  that investigation/discipline occur by considering a range of factors including, but not limited to, whether:

  • There have been other similar complaints about the same alleged perpetrator;
  • The  alleged perpetrator has a history of arrests or records indicating a history of violence;
  • The alleged perpetrator threatened any further violence against the victim or others;
  • The misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators;
  • The act was perpetrated with a weapon;
  • The alleged perpetrator holds a position of power over the victim;
  • The victim/survivor is a minor;
  • The University possesses no other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence);
  • There appears to be a pattern of perpetration ( e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group; and/or
  • Other circumstances indicating an increased risk of violence or harm.

If none of the factors listed are present, BSU will likely honor the victim’s request for confidentiality. The presence of one or more of these factors could lead BSU to investigate and/or pursue discipline. The University will inform the victim prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, share information  only with those responsible for handling BSU’s response.

Additional Privacy Consideration and Information

Important Information: A student’s right to privacy is primarily governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which provides that personally identifiable information maintained by BSU in students’ educational records may not be disclosed except with the consent of the student or as otherwise specified by law. Learn more about FERPA.

Disclosures made at public awareness events

Public awareness events such as “Take Back the Night,” the Clothesline Project, candlelight vigils, protests, “survivor speaks out” or other forums in which individuals disclose incidents of sexual violence or relationship violence are not considered notice to the University and do not trigger an obligation to investigate any particular incident(s). Such events may, however, inform the University’s education and prevention efforts.

The Clery Act requires BSU to maintain a daily log of reports of crimes that occurred on campus, University-controlled property, or public property immediately adjacent to campus, including reports of sexual assault, domestic or dating violence and stalking. BSU must also publish an Annual Campus Crime Report concerning reported incidents. The University does not include names or other personally identifying information in the daily logs or the Annual Security Reports.

Additionally, when Bridgewater State University becomes aware that an incident of sexual misconduct or violence occurred, and there is a potential for bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community, the University will issue a timely warning to the campus. While BSU will provide enough information to safe-guard the campus community, a victim’s name or other personally identifying information will not be disclosed in the timely warning.