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Responsible Employee FAQ

How do I know if someone else is or if I am a responsible employee?
The Sexual Misconduct Policy identifies the following Furman employees as Responsible Employees:

  • 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.

What does it mean to be a responsible employee?
Responsible employees are required by Furman policy to report incidents of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, intimate partner violence, stalking or sexual violence, including all details, to Furman’s Title IX Coordinator.

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

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. Responsible employees 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, the 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.

I’d like to include a statement on my syllabus—any suggestions? 
You may want to include some or all of the following information on your syllabus:

Nondiscrimination Policy and Sexual Misconduct: Furman University and its faculty are committed to supporting our students and seeking an environment that is free of bias, discrimination, and harassment. Furman does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, disability, age, religion, veteran status, or any other characteristic or status protected by applicable local, state, or federal law in admission, treatment, or access to, or employment in, its programs and activities. If you have encountered any form of discrimination or harassment, including sexual misconduct (e.g. sexual assault, sexual harassment or gender-based harassment, sexual exploitation or intimidation, stalking, intimate partner violence), we encourage you to report this to the institution. If you wish to report such an incident of misconduct, you may contact Furman’s Title IX Coordinator, Melissa Nichols (Trone Center, Suite 215; Melissa.nichols@furman.edu; 864.294.2221). If you would like to speak with someone who can advise you but maintain complete confidentiality, you can talk with a counselor, a professional in the Student Health Center or someone in the Office of Spiritual Life. If you speak with a faculty member, understand that as a “Responsible Employee” of the university, the faculty member MUST report to the university’s Title IX Coordinator what you share to help ensure that your safety and welfare are being addressed, consistent with the requirements of the law.  You do not have to go through the experience alone.

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. o 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: the counseling center, the Chaplain 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 Chaplain.

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: The university considers the reporting and adjudication of Sexual Misconduct cases on campus to be of paramount importance. The university does not condone underage drinking or the use of illegal drugs. However, the university will extend amnesty to Complainants, Third‐Party Reporters, and those assisting a victim or potential victim of Non-consensual Sexual contact or Non-consensual Sexual Penetration from punitive sanctioning for illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol. Similarly, the university may, in its discretion, provide amnesty for other minor conduct code violations that are discovered in the course of a Sexual Misconduct report or investigation.