What is a Responsible Employee?
Under Title IX law, a Responsible Employee is a faculty or staff member (or other employee) with an obligation under their institution's policy to report any information they become aware of regarding a known or suspected Title IX violation to the Title IX Office, regardless of how they learn of it.
Who is a Responsible Employee at Howard University?
At Howard University and Howard University Hospital, all employees and contractors—with the exception of those designated as Confidential Employees—are considered Responsible Employees.
Who Is a Confidential Employee?
Confidential employees include licensed medical, clinical, or mental health professionals; clergy; victim/survivor advocates; and employees providing administrative/operational or related support to these employees. These employees can keep disclosures of sex/gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence confidential and provide their confidential services without having to report the incidents to the Title IX Office (with limited exceptions). Confidential campus resources include the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Program, University Counseling Service, Student Health Center, Chaplains, and healthcare providers at Howard University Hospital. However, note that these employees are confidential only in the context of performing their confidential roles and must report any information they receive outside of these confidential roles to the Title IX Office. For example, a medical professional who practices medicine at Howard University Hospital and also serves as a faculty member at the College of Medicine can keep confidential any disclosures of sexual assault or dating violence made to them by a patient in the course of providing medical care. But if the same medical professional receives a disclosure of gender-based violence (or other harassment or discrimination) from a student in their role as a faculty member, they must report what that student shared with them to the Title IX Office as soon as possible.
Are student employees considered Responsible Employees?
Yes. Student workers who have supervisory responsibility or responsibility for the welfare of other students are also considered Responsible Employees when they learn of potential violations of the Title IX policy within the scope of their employment. Student workers who are Responsible Employees include, but are not limited to, resident assistants, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and tutors.
What if the person requests that I keep what they've told me confidential?
Responsible Employees cannot promise confidentiality or withhold information about prohibited conduct. However, you can assure the person that their report will be handled discreetly by the Title IX Office, and that their privacy and the privacy of anyone else involved will be protected to the extent permissible by law. Information will only be shared with University employees with a need to know for the purposes of resolving the complaint and providing supportive measures to the complainant. The matter will only be discussed with any additional parties with permission of the complainant. Also, when the Title IX Office reaches out to the complainant to inform them of their rights, offer resources, and invite them to speak with us, they can decide whether tor not hey would like to meet with the Title IX Office.
What's the difference between confidentiality and privacy?
As defined in Howard's Title IX Policy, privacy generally means that information related to a report of misconduct will only be shared with a limited circle of individuals. The use of this information is limited to those University employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the active review, investigation, or resolution of the report. While not bound by confidentiality, these individuals will be discreet and respect the privacy of all individuals involved in the process. Confidentiality means that information shared by an individual with designated campus or community professionals (referred to as “Confidential Employees” or “Confidential Resources”) cannot be revealed to any other individual without express permission of the individual making the disclosure. These campus and community professionals have legally protected confidentiality under District law and/or our Policy and can engage in confidential communications when the information is disclosed in the course of a protected relationship, within the scope of the provision of professional services. These individuals are prohibited from breaking this confidentiality unless there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others. Read more about Privacy and Confidentiality.
What can I do to be prepared before someone discloses something to me?
- Inform students or employees for whom you are responsible of your Responsible Employee reporting obligation, up front.
- For example, if you are a faculty member, add the Title IX syllabus statement to your course syllabi so your students know that you are not a confidential resource and can make an informed decision regarding whether they would want to speak with you.
- Know the reporting options and confidential resources, and how to refer students appropriately.
- Know what constitutes prohibited conduct under the Title IX Policy.
- Download, save, and share the various handouts provided on the Documents page of the Title IX Office website, including "Know Your Rights, Resources and Options."
- Demonstrate professionalism and model appropriate boundaries at all times.
How should I respond in the moment if someone starts to share something with me that sounds like it might involve sex/gender-based discrimination, harassment, or violence (i.e., a potential Title IX violation)?
If it sounds like a student or employee is about to share something related to sex or gender-based harassment, discrimination, or violence:
- Gently stop them before they go further.
- Remind them that you are not a confidential resource and must report anything you become aware of related to a potential Title IX violation.
- Let them know that you are still willing to listen, but that there are other resources on campus with whom they can speak confidentially.
If the person still wants to talk with you:
- Acknowledge what they are sharing with you.
- Thank them for trusting/sharing with you.
- Encourage them to reach out directly to the Title IX Office.
- Remind them that you will be reporting it to the Title IX Office.
- Provide them with information on confidential resources.
- Offer to accompany them/help them contact a resource.
- If you believe that anyone is in imminent danger, call the HU Department of Public Safety (202-806-1100) or local law enforcement (911).
- If someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, contact the University Counseling Service (202-806-6870 - 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Crisis Line: 202-345-6709 - After 4:00 PM) or the national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (988)
What not to do:
- Dismiss or make light of the situation, regardless of your personal feelings, opinions, or perceptions.
- Tell the student to ignore the behavior.
- Judge or ask judgmental questions (e.g., "Why did you go out with this person in the first place?," "Why were you out so late, anyway?," "What were you wearing?").
- Ask probing questions, or attempt to investigate or resolve the situation on your own.
- Promise confidentiality.
- Delay reporting. (Remember, you play a key role in Howard University’s timely response to reports.)
- Wait for someone to complain if you know or suspect sexual misconduct, discrimination, or harassment has occurred
How Do I Report Prohibited Conduct to the Title IX Office?
You can submit a report to the Title IX Office in any of the following ways:
- Complete the Online Reporting Form
- Email TitleIX@howard.edu
- Call 202-806-2550
What Information Should I Report?
You should report as much information as you know about the potential violation, including the identities of the individuals involved; the date, time and location of the incident(s); and any other details. You should not investigate or interview anyone to find out more. Simply report what you know.
Will I Receive a Response from the Title IX Office?
The Title IX Office will confirm receipt of your report and will follow up with you if we have questions. The Title IX Office will then reach out to the potential complainant (the individual who is reported to have experienced the prohibited conduct). As a third party reporter, you may or may not be contacted again regarding the report and would not necessarily be updated regarding the outcome.
What if I don't report a potential Title IX Policy violation that I have become aware of?
Failure of a Responsible Employee to report information in a timely manner may result in appropriate discipline, up to and including removal from a position or termination of employment. Note that reporting to your supervisor or sharing information with a Confidential Employee does not fulfill your obligation to report to the Title IX Office.
What if I have more questions about my reporting obligation?
If you have any questions regarding your reporting obligations under the Howard University Policy Prohibiting Sex and Gender-Based Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation, please contact the University’s Title IX Director, Angie Logan-Pope (she/her), at 202-806-2550 or TitleIX@howard.edu.