How Can I support a Student Complainant as a Responsible Employee?

If a student discloses an incident of sexual misconduct to you, including sexual assault, stalking, dating or domestic violence, or sexual harassment, we encourage you to take the following steps:

  1. Listen
    CONFIRM the student’s safety. If they are not safe, help them create a plan to get to a safe place.
    PROVIDE nonjudgmental support. Avoid questions that suggest blame or show doubt.
    RESPOND with compassion and sensitivity.
  2. Refer
    REVIEW reporting options with the student (both the right to file a report with law enforcement and the right to file a complaint with the Title IX Coordinator).
    DIRECT the student to on-campus support resources, such as Counseling Services at the Trone Center for Mental Fitness and the Earle Student Health Center.
    SHARE off-campus resources.
  3. Report
    CONTACT the Title IX Coordinator to report the incident.
    EXPLAIN to the student that the Title IX Coordinator will contact them to discuss their reporting options and resources.

What does it mean to be a mandated reporter?

Mandated Reporters are required by Furman policy to report to the Title IX Coordinator any incident of sexual misconduct or gender-based harassment, including all information they know about the incident.

*As a Mandated Reporter, you are not responsible for investigating or asking questions—just reporting what you are told.  

How do I know if someone else is or if I am a Mandated Reporter?

The following Furman employees are Mandated Reporters:

  • All Vice Presidents, Assistant Vice Presidents, Associate Vice Presidents, Provosts, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, and Coaches;
  • All Deputy Title IX Coordinators;
  • All Human Resources staff;
  • All Student Life staff (including, for purposes of clarity, Resident Assistants and First‐Year Advisors (FRADs));
  • All employees serving in a supervisory or management role (including, for purposes of clarity, all employees who supervise activities or programs that involve direct contact with students, such as advisors to recognized student organizations);
  • All members of the faculty; and
  • All Furman University Police Officers and contracted security personnel.

When should I report an incident to the Title IX Coordinator?

You should report the incident as soon as possible after you become aware of the incident whether by your own observation or by a report from another individual. Mandated Reporters are expected to inform the Title  IX Coordinator of any reported Sexual Misconduct within 24 hours of receiving a report.

What information should I report?

All known facts, including the names of all involved, status of all involved (student, staff member, faculty member, not university-affiliated, etc.), the date of the incident, the alleged conduct and the location of the incident.

What should I do if I cannot reach the Title IX Coordinator?

If you cannot reach the Title IX Coordinator, you should report it to one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators.  If it is not during business hours, you should contact the Student Life staff member on call.

What should I do first when an individual starts telling me about an incident of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, intimate partner violence,  stalking or sexual violence?

*If someone tells you about an incident of sexual misconduct, your response can help the healing process.  

Gently interrupt that person as soon as possible to advise him or her of your reporting obligations, and ask if he or she still wants to describe the incident to you. Explain that the Title IX Coordinator will only share the information with those who need to know in order to take appropriate action to address the problem.  Advise the person that you can help him/her contact the Title IX Coordinator who can fully explain the support services available and the steps that will be taken to address the reported incident.

If the individual still wants to tell me about the incident, what can I say or do to support them?

  • Listen to them.
  • Acknowledge what they are telling you.
  • Don’t judge what they tell you.
  • Do not try to investigate on your own.
  • Thank them for sharing with you.
  • Encourage them to reach out directly to the Title IX Coordinator and report the incident.
  • Remind them you will be reporting it as well.
  • Provide them with a Title IX Office brochure.

What you should NOT do:

  • Do not tell the complainant to ignore the behavior.
  • Do not make light of the situation.
  • Do not attempt to investigate or resolve the situation on your own.
  • Do not wait for someone to complain if you know or suspect sexual misconduct is or has occurred.
  • Do not promise confidentiality

If the complainant says that she or he wants me to maintain confidentiality, what should I do?

Prior to hearing the particulars of the complaint, you should advise the complainant that you are unable to maintain confidentiality and would need to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator. If the complainant continues to state that he or she wants confidentiality, you should direct student complainants to the confidential resources:  Counseling Services at the Trone Center for Mental Fitness, the Office of Spiritual Life or the student health center.  Students or employees can also obtain confidential support, information about their options, rights and resources from the Julie Valentine Center (Greenville County’s sexual assault center) at 864.467.3633 (available 24/7) or the Office of Spiritual Life.

What if a student complainant is reluctant to describe the incident because it involved the use of drugs and/or alcohol?

You should advise the complainant that Furman has an amnesty policy for those who have used drugs and/or alcohol in the context of an incident of sexual misconduct. Furman’s amnesty policy for Sexual Misconduct cases states that  “The University considers the reporting and adjudication of Sexual Misconduct to be of paramount importance. The University does not condone underage drinking or use of illegal drugs; however, the University may extend amnesty from punitive sanctioning for the illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol to Complainants, witnesses, others involved in the grievance procedures set forth in this Policy, and those assisting a potential victim of Sexual Misconduct when evidence of such use is discovered or submitted as part of the grievance procedures set forth in this Policy or while individuals are assisting a potential victim.  Similarly, the University may, in its discretion, provide amnesty for other minor conduct code violations that are discovered in connection with the grievance procedures set forth in this Policy.”