Different University employees on campus have different abilities to maintain confidentiality. There are two categories of employees who are able to offer varying degrees of confidentiality, and they are noted below:
Confidential Resources: The University provides limited confidential resources who are outside the official reporting channels. Any community member may seek advice and counseling confidentially, including about sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct by speaking to the following University employees:
a. Counselor/Therapist at the University Counseling Center
b. Priest who is acting in a pastoral capacity
Confidentiality will be maintained by a counselor or therapist under all circumstances except when there is an immediate threat of serious harm to a person. This means that, in almost all circumstances, these individuals are not required to report any information to anyone without permission.
Semi-Confidential Resources: Nurses and nurse practitioners in the Student Health Center and a Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator may talk with an individual on a semi-confidential basis and generally only report that an incident occurred without revealing any personally identifying information about the individual.
A report of sexual misconduct to such a person will prompt an investigation by the Title IX Coordinator or Public Safety into the matter, but without the cooperation of the Complainant and consistent with the Complainant's wishes for confidentiality, such investigation may be limited. Should there be a continuing threat to the community, a timely warning could be issued in order to protect the community. The warning would not contain identifying information about the reporting person. When an ongoing threat to the safety of campus exists, the University will determine whether appropriate actions to address the situation must be taken. This determination is made following the procedures set forth below in "Requesting Confidentiality: How the University Will Weigh the Request and Respond".
An individual who speaks to these semi-confidential resources should understand that the University's ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and puruse disciplinary action against the Respondent may be limited based on the information provided. Nonetheless, these employees can facilitate support services, including interim measures.
Non-Confidential Resources: All other employees are required to share the report of sexual misconduct with the Title IX Coordinator, which will prompt an investigation by the University to address and remedy the situation. Though a report to such an employee will prompt an investigation, a Complainant may still decide whether and how she/he wants to be involved in the process following the investigation.
Note that physicians at the Student Health Center (M.D.s and D.O.s) are generally required by Pennsylvania law to report to the police department with jurisdiction, any time they receive a report of an injury caused by a criminal act, including sexual assault.
Requesting Confidentiality: How the University Will Weigh the Request and Respond
If a Complainant reports an incident of sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct and wishes to maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation be conducted or disciplinary action be taken, the University must weigh that request against its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students and employees, including the Complainant.
If the University honors the request for confidentiality, a Complainant should understand that the University’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the Respondent may be limited.
Although rare, there are times when the University may not be able to honor a Complainant’s request in order to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students and employees. When weighing a Complainant’s request for confidentiality or that no investigation or discipline be pursued, the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator(s) will consider a range of factors, including the following:
- The risk that the Respondent will commit additional acts of sexual or other violence, such as:
- whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the same Respondent;
- whether the Respondent has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of sexual and/or physical violence;
- whether the Respondent threatened further sexual violence or other violence against the Complainant or others;
- whether the sexual violence was committed by multiple perpetrators;
- whether the sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon;
- whether the Complainant is a minor;
- whether the University possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the sexual violence (e.g., security cameras, eye-witnesses, or physical evidence);
- whether the Complainant’s report reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group).
The presence of one or more of these factors could lead the University to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue disciplinary action and/or involve the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction. If none of these factors is present, the University will likely respect the Complainant’s request for confidentiality.
If the University determines that it cannot maintain a Complainant’s confidentiality, the University will inform the Complainant prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling the University’s response to the report of sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct.
Whether a report is confidential or not, when a Complainant reports an incident of sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct, the University will remain ever mindful of the well-being of the Complainant and protect the Complainant from retaliation. The University will also support the Complainant and take any needed action to protect and assist her or him consistent with the Complainant’s wishes. A variety of interim measures are available to the Complainant. The Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator is available to assist the Complainant in determining what measures are helpful or needed for the Complainant and will manage the implementation of such interim measures.
Additionally, Villanova provides on campus resources to assist a Respondent in obtaining emotional support through counseling as well as help navigating the disciplinary process, what to expect in the process, and to check in with the Respondent thoughout the process.
University resources do not provide legal advice or guidance.
Finally, the University is committed to a safe environment for all students and employees and to addressing issues of sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct. Reports of such misconduct, whether or not confidential, provide the University with the opportunity to consider broader remedial action including increased monitoring of campus locations, additional education and prevention efforts, and climate assessments.