You Are Not Alone – Who to Talk To
“Confidential” Support Employees and “Responsible” Employees
CUNY’s goal is to maintain a safe environment free of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment and sexual violence (which may include stalking and dating, domestic and intimate partner violence in certain circumstances). To further that goal, most employees of CUNY and its colleges are either required or encouraged to report incidents of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence when they become aware of those incidents. There are other employees specifically trained to offer support to victims of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence who may be consulted and who will keep information confidential, except in cases of immediate risk of harm to the community.
Before you speak to a college or CUNY employee about sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence, you should be aware of that employee’s obligations under Title IX and/or CUNY policy. The three categories of employees are: (1) “confidential” employees, who have an obligation to keep information about the incident confidential; (2) “responsible” employees, who are required to report the incident(s) to the Title IX Coordinator; and (3) all other employees, who are strongly encouraged but not required to report the incident(s).
When you first disclose an incident of sexual assault to a responsible employee of your college, that person will explain to you that you have the right to:
- make a report to university police or campus security, local law enforcement, and/or state police or choose not to report;
- report the incident to your institution;
- be protected by the institution from retaliation for reporting an incident; and
- receive assistance and resources from your institution.
If you are a student at a college of CUNY and you wish to speak to someone who will keep your communications confidential, you may speak to the following employees:
- Counselor or other staff member(s) at your college counseling center
- Nurse, nurse practitioner or other staff member(s) in the college health office
- Pastoral counselor (e., counselor who is also a religious leader), if one is available at your college
- Staff member(s) in a women’s or men’s center, if one exists at your college
These professionals are available to provide you with support. They will not report any information about an incident to the college’s Title IX Coordinator or other college employees without your permission, except if the information shared demonstrates that there is an immediate danger to the community. They may also have to report information that does not identify you by name for statistical reports required under federal law.
If you wish to maintain confidentiality, the college may be unable to conduct an investigation into the particular incident or pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator.
If you are a CUNY employee, although there is no one directly employed by CUNY to whom you can speak on a confidential basis regarding sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence, free confidential support services are available through CUNY’s Work/Life Program, which is administered by an outside company. Confidential community counseling resources are also available throughout New York City.
“Responsible” employees must report incidents of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence, including all relevant details, to the Title IX Coordinator. To the extent possible, they will only share information reported to them with the Title IX Coordinator and other persons responsible for handling the college’s response to the report.
The following are “responsible” employees:
- Title IX Coordinator and her/his staff
- Office of Public Safety employees (all)
- Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students and all staff housed in those offices
- Residence Life staff in CUNY owned or operated housing, including Resident Assistants (all)
- College President, Vice Presidents and Deans
- Athletics Staff (all)
- Department Chairpersons/Executive officers
- Human Resources staff (all)
- College attorney and her/his staff
- College labor designee and her/his staff
- Faculty members at times when they are leading off-campus trips
- Faculty or staff advisors to student groups
- Employees who are Managers (all)
- SEEK/College Discovery staff
You also should be aware that employees who are neither “confidential” nor “responsible” are encouraged but not required to report any possible sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence. This category of employees includes faculty members other than those leading off-campus trips or serving as advisors to student groups. If you speak to a faculty member, therefore, that person may report the information to the Title IX Coordinator.