Confidentiality, Privacy, and Reporting

College officials, depending on their roles at Whittier College, have varying reporting responsibilities and abilities to maintain confidentiality. 

In order to make informed choices, one should be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources. On campus, some resources may maintain confidentiality, offering options and advice without any obligation to inform outside agency or individual unless you have requested that information be shared. Other resources exist for you to report crimes and Policy violations and these resources will take action when victimization is reported to them.

Making a report means telling someone in authority what happened. At the time a report is made, the alleged victim does not have to decide whether or not to pursue a particular course of action. Choosing to make a report and deciding how to proceed can be a process that unfolds over time. The College provides support that can assist each individual in making these important decisions and to the extent legally possible will respect the individual’s autonomy in deciding how to proceed. If you are unsure of someone’s duty and ability to maintain privacy, ask them before talking to them. They will be able to explain and help a reporting party make decisions about who is in the best position to help. 

The following describes confidential, private, and mandated reporting at Whittier College

1.  Confidential Reporting

If a reporting party would like the details of an incident to be kept confidential, the reporting party may speak with on-campus counselors, off-campus counselors including local rape crisis counselors, domestic violence resources, local or state assistance agencies, or clergy who will maintain confidentiality except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat of danger or abuse of a minor. Campus counselors may be seen free of charge. The on-campus confidential resources include:

  • Whittier College Counseling Center, open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., 562.907.4239
  • 24-hour Counselor-on-Call provides crisis counseling and can advise students about reporting and resources for sexual misconduct, including 24-hour advocacy services: 562.907.4911
  • Whittier College Student Health & Wellness Center: 562.464.4548                                                  

2. Private Reporters

Whittier College faculty, administrators, staff, and student employees that do not serve in leadership positions or supervise the reporting person are Private Reporters. Private reporters can honor requests to keep identifying information confidential, but they are required to call or email a Title IX Coordinator and provide the following information: 1) the approximate date of the incident, 2) the approximate location of the incident, and 3) the type of crime committed, but do not have to report any identifying information. Private reporters include, but are not limited to:

  • Professors, administrators, and staff that are not Deans, Directors, or Head Coaches
  • Faculty and staff serving as Support People (i.e., in the Support Person Program)
  • Graduate Fellows

3.  Mandated Reporters

Whittier College faculty, staff, and student employees that serve in leadership positions, supervise the reporting person, or hold roles that require them to report other Code of Conduct Violations are Mandated Reporters (also called “responsible employees” under Title IX). These individuals are required to report the who, what, when, and where for sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking to a Title IX Coordinator. Mandated reporters cannot honor requests to maintain confidentiality and must report information to a Title IX Coordinator. However, when personally identifiable information is shared, it will be shared only with those that have a need to know and with as few people as possible. All efforts will be made to protect privacy to the greatest extent possible, including the storage of the case file and notes in a locked filing cabinet and protected database, separate from that student’s educational record. Mandated Reporters include, but are not limited to:

  • Deans, Directors, and Head Coaches
  • Assistant Directors of Residential Life
  • Campus Safety Officers and Dispatchers
  • Resident Assistants (RAs)
  • Peer Mentors

Anonymous Reports/Federal Timely Warning Obligations

Individuals may file an anonymous report regarding an act of sexual misconduct without disclosing one’s name, identifying the person who allegedly engaged in the misconduct, or requesting any action. An online form is provided on Moodle (for faculty and staff) and for all faculty, staff, and students on the MyWhittier homepage under the campus life tab in the student services section. In this case, depending on the information provided, the College may have limited options in addressing the conduct. Also, in such a situation, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Director of Campus Safety, will determine appropriate steps, including notification and documentation under the Clery Act.

Alleged victims and other third parties who report incidents under this Policy should be aware that the College must issue timely warning for incidents reported to them that pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The College will make every effort to ensure that an alleged victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the potential danger.

Internal Formal Reporting

A student wishing to officially report an act of Sexual Misconduct under this Policy either in addition to or instead of local law enforcement may do so by contacting a Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator, Title IX Investigator, or Campus Safety Officer. Campus Safety is also available to respond to and take reports of sexual violence 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Campus Safety will provide transportation and will notify the Administrator or Dean on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The number for Campus Safety is 562.907.4211.

Alleged victims are encouraged to speak with the Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Investigators identified below to make formal reports of incidents of Sexual Misconduct. Complainants have the right and can expect to have complaints taken seriously by the College when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through the procedures set forth in this Policy. Formal reporting still affords privacy to the reporter, and only a small group of officials who need to know will be told. Information will, however, be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the Respondent.

Role of the Title IX Coordinator

Pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the U.S. Department of Education’s implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. Part 106, the College’s Title IX Coordinator has primary responsibility for coordinating the College’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in all the operations of this College, as well as retaliation for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX.

A student should contact the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s) in order to:

  • Seek information or training about students’ rights and courses of action available to resolve reports or complaints that involve potential sex or gender-based discrimination, including sexual misconduct,
  • File a complaint or make a report of sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct,
  • Notify the College of an incident or policy or procedure that may raise potential Title IX concerns,
  • Get information about available resources (including confidential resources) and support services relating to sex or gender-based discrimination, including sexual misconduct, and
  • Ask questions about the College’s policies and procedures related to sex or gender-based discrimination, including sexual misconduct.

The Title IX Coordinator’s functions and responsibilities include the following:

  • Providing or facilitating ongoing training, consultation, and technical assistance on Title IX for all students, faculty and staff,
  • Overseeing adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation and response to reports and complaints of sexual misconduct,
  • Promptly taking steps to ensure the complainant’s equal access to the College’s programs and activities and protect the complainant as necessary, including interim measures, and
  • Ensuring ongoing compliance with Title IX.

In the event that the incident, policy, or procedure about which the student seeks to file a report or complaint creates the appearance of a conflict of interest with the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators, students may also contact a Title IX Investigator to make a report.

Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators

Joel Perez, Vice President and Dean of Students
Title IX Coordinator
Complaints about Students
Dean of Students Office

Darrin Good, Ph.D., Vice President and Dean of Faculty
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Complaints about Faculty
Mendenhall, First Floor

Cynthia Joseph, Director of Human Resources
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Complaints about Whittier College Staff, Administration and
Whittier Law School Staff, Administration, Faculty, and Students
Mendenhall, Lower Level

Trained Title IX Investigators

Siobhan Skerritt
Director, Student Rights & Responsibilities / Lead Title IX Investigator

Jessica Rangel
HR Office Assistant

Tea Bogue
Assistant Director for Residential Life and Conduct

Camille Heenan
Director of Student and Alumni Relations, Whittier Law School
714.444.4141, ext 124

Stephanie Hernandez-Lopez
Student Employment & HR Office Manager
562.907.4200, ext 4615

Ann Kakaliouras
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
562.907.4200, ext 4341

Dee Dee Kingsbury
Head Softball Coach and Senior Women’s Administrator, Athletics

William MacDonald
Adjunct Professor of Law
Director of Academic Support
714.444.4141, ext 142

Maritza Magallanes
Associate Director of Human Resources

Tom McColl
Associate Dean of Enrollment Management and Administration, Whittier Law School
714.444.4141 ext 283

Joe Melendez
Associate Director of Residential Life  

Dave Paddy
Professor of English
562.907.4200, ext 4317

Radha A. Pathak
Associate Dean for Students & Alumni Engagement, Whittier Law School
Director, Institute for Trial & Appellate Practice
Associate Professor of Law
714.444.4141 ext. 231

Joe Rivera
Assistant Director of Campus Safety

Elizabeth Sage
Associate Professor of History
562.907.4200, ext 4347

External Formal Reporting

The College encourages all individuals to seek assistance from a medical provider and/or law enforcement immediately after an incident of Sexual Assault to ensure preservation of evidence and a timely investigation and response.

The College encourages all individuals to make a report to the College simultaneously with law enforcement or as soon as possible. Reporting options are not mutually exclusive. 

Alleged Victims are not required to report an incident to law enforcement authorities, but the College encourages them to report incidents of Sexual Assault or Dating or Domestic Violence that may also be crimes under California law. An advisor from the Whittier College Support Person Program may assist an Alleged Victim in making a criminal report and cooperate with law enforcement agencies if the person decides to pursue criminal action.

The College’s Policy, definitions and burden of proof differs from California law. An Alleged Victim has a choice to seek recourse under this Policy and/or pursue criminal action. Neither law enforcement’s determination whether or not to prosecute an Accused, Respondent, nor the outcome of criminal prosecution, determine whether a violation of the Policy occurred. Campus proceedings may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings.

A Support Person can accompany an Alleged Victim to make a report or provide more information about the external reporting process and options. The contact information for the Whittier Police Department is:

Whittier Police Department
13200 Penn St.
Whittier, CA  90602
Emergencies: 911

Timeliness and Location of Incident Considerations for Reporting to the College

Incidents of sexual misconduct can be reported at any time, but should be reported as soon as possible in order to maximize the College’s ability to respond promptly and effectively.  The College does not limit the time frame for reporting but the longer one waits, the greater the possibility that a less effective or desired resolution may be reached.  If the respondent is not a member of the Whittier College community, the College will seek to meet its Title IX obligation by taking steps to end the misconduct, prevent its reoccurrence, and address its effects, although the ability to take disciplinary action against the respondent may be limited. 

The incident does not have to occur on campus to be reported to the College.  Off-campus conduct that is likely to have a substantial effect on the Complainant’s campus life, work, and activities or which poses a threat to other members of the community, may be addressed under this Policy.

Amnesty Policy

The College encourages the reporting of Conduct Code and Sexual Misconduct Policy violations. Sometimes, alleged victims are hesitant to report to College officials because they fear that they themselves may be charged with policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. The goal of this policy is to remove the fear of being charged as a barrier by offering certain students, including alleged victims, immunity from being charged as it is in the best interest of the community that as many students as possible report to College officials.

For Alleged Victims

To encourage reporting, the College pursues a policy of offering alleged victims immunity from being charged for policy violations related to the incident unless the College determines that the violation was egregious, including, but not limited to, an action that places the health or safety of any other person at risk. In cases where more than one student involved in an incident are reporting it to the College and acting as Complainant (and are also both potentially Respondents), it is at the discretion of the Title IX Investigator or Student Conduct officer to make the decision of who will be charged with the incident. In that case, the student that is not charged will be given immunity.

For Witnesses in a Title IX Investigation

Immunity will be extended to any student who participates as a witness in an investigation into Sexual Misconduct by a Title IX Investigator unless the College determines that the violation was egregious, including, but not limited to, an action that places the health or safety of any other person at risk or involves plagiarism, cheating, or academic dishonesty.

For Those Who Offer Assistance (Good Samaritans)

At the discretion of the conduct officer or Title IX Investigator, amnesty may also be extended on a case-by-case basis to the person providing assistance.

Safe Harbor

The College has a Safe Harbor rule for students. Fundamentally, the College believes that students who have a drug and/or addiction problem deserve help. If any student brings their own use, addiction, or dependency to the attention of a College Official outside of the threat of disciplinary action and seeks assistance, a conduct complaint will not be pursued. A written action plan may be used to track cooperation with the Safe Harbor program by the student. Failure to follow the action plan will nullify the Safe Harbor protection and campus conduct process will be initiated.

Reports Involving Minors or Suspected Child Abuse

Under California law, a person must make a mandatory report of suspected child abuse or neglect, including sexual assault, when that individual, in a professional capacity, has knowledge or observes a minor under 18 whom the individual knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect. All College employees are required to immediately report any suspected child abuse to the Title IX Coordinator and the Director of Campus Safety. The College will report all suspected child abuse and neglect, including sexual assault, to law enforcement and/or the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services.

This policy was edited on August 11, 2016.