Confidentiality, Privacy, and Reporting

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 and retaliation in all the operations of this College.  

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 allegations that involve potential sex or gender-based discrimination;
  • File a complaint or make a report of sex discrimination;
  • Notify the College of an incident or policy or procedure that may raise potential Title IX concerns;
  • Get information about available resources and support services relating to sex or gender-based discrimination; and
  • Ask questions about the College’s policies and procedures related to sex or gender-based discrimination.

The College Title IX Coordinators are

Title IX Coordinator (All allegations and those relating to Students)

Bruce Smith
Vice President and Dean of Students
Room 142, Campus Center

Deputy Title IX Coordinator (Allegations involving staff and those relating to Whittier Law School) 

Cynthia Joseph
Associate Vice President, Human Resources & Organizational Development
Mendenhall, Lower Level

Deputy Title IX Coordinator (Allegations involving faculty)

sal johnston
Vice President and Dean of Faculty
Mendenhall, First Floor

Reporting Incidents of Sexual Misconduct

Confidentiality and Privacy

College officials, depending on their roles at Whittier College, have varying reporting responsibilities and abilities to maintain confidentiality. In order to make informed choices, students, faculty, administrators, and staff 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 an outside agency or individual requested. Other resources exist 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, whether formally or informally. At the time a report is made, the Complainant 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. To ensure that the correct course of action is taken, it is important to understand someone’s duty and ability to maintain privacy by asking 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:

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.  See page 11 of this Policy for complete information.

Private Reporters

Whittier College faculty, administrators, staff, and student employees that do not serve in leadership positions or supervise staff 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 misconduct allegedly committed.  Private Reporters include, but are not limited to administrators, faculty and staff who are not deans, directors,  as well as those persons  serving as a support person as part of the Support Person Program (see below).

Mandated Reporters

Whittier College faculty, staff, and student employees who serve in leadership positions, supervise staff, or hold roles that require them to report other Code of Conduct violations are Mandated Reporters (also known as “responsible employees”). 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 but when personally identifiable information is shared, it will be shared only with those who have a legitimate need to know and with as few people as possible. All efforts will be made to protect privacy to the greatest extent possible. Mandated Reporters include but are not limited to Title IX Investigators and Coordinators, Deans and Directors of programs and departments, all Athletics coaches, Residential Life Staff, Campus Safety Officers and Dispatchers, Community Assistants. 

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 My Whittier 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. Remedies could include training, education, and policy revision/clarification.

Complainants and other third parties who report incidents under this Policy should be aware that the College must issue a timely warning for incidents reported to them that pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the College community. The College will make every effort to ensure that a Complainant’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 the Title IX Coordinator, a Deputy, or a 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. The number for Campus Safety is 562.907.4211.

Complainants are encouraged to speak with a Title IX Coordinator or the Lead Title IX Investigator to make formal reports of incidents of Sexual Misconduct. Complainants have the right and can expect to have allegations taken seriously by the College when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through the established procedures. Formal reporting still affords privacy to the reporter, and only a small group of officials who have a legitimate need to know will be told. Information will, however, be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the Complainant.

External Formal Reporting

The College encourages all individuals to seek assistance from a medical provider and/or law enforcement personnel immediately after an incident of Sexual Misconduct 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.

The College’s Policy, definitions and burden of proof differ from California law. A Complainant has a choice to seek recourse under this Policy and/or pursue criminal action. Neither law enforcement’s determination whether or not to prosecute a Responding Party, 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.

Complainants are not required to report an incident to law enforcement authorities, but the College encourages reporting of incidents that may also be crimes under California law. An advisor from the Whittier College Support Person Program may assist a Complainant in making a criminal report and cooperate with law enforcement agencies if the person decides to pursue criminal action.

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 Responding Party 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 with respect to the Responding Party 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 able to be addressed under this Policy.

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 who 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 to law enforcement and/or the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services.

This policy was updated on February 5, 2020