Important Academic and Public Awareness Exemptions

Because of the importance of academic expression and open discussion, disclosures that may occur in connection with academic courses and in the context of academic assignments and classroom discussions, during public awareness events (such as "Take Back the Night" or "Survivor Speak Outs"), or from IRB-approved human subjects research protocols focused on prohibited discrimination are NOT required to be shared with the appropriate authorities.

However, if an employee anticipates that a writing assignment or discussion could illicit a personal account, particularly of sex or gender-based abuse or violence, then prior to the assignment they should make clear to students (as in a syllabus statement or in an announcement) that such a disclosure in a classroom assignment, without more, would not trigger reporting obligations and therefore would not trigger an investigation or response from the university. It is equally critical to make sure that students are not making disclosures with the expectation that the disclosure will trigger action and then not having that expectation met.

If a student discloses such an account or make a disclosure in class, it is appropriate (and encouraged) for the employee to provide that student with information such as the link to the SAFE site and contact information for the appropriate offices so that the student can still be fully informed as to their options and what the university can provide—even if the student remains entirely confidential.