Confidentiality and Privacy
What is the difference between confidentiality and privacy?
Confidentiality and privacy are uniquely different. Confidentiality is limited to individuals who, by law, can keep information confidential (i.e., licensed counselors, medical professionals). Information communicated to mandatory reporters (i.e., the Title IX Coordinator, all faculty members, and most staff members), will be kept private, but not confidential, and is shared only with University employees who need to be involved in responding to or addressing a report. For more detailed information, contact Stephanie Rowland, Title IX Coordinator, at 423-425-4255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Survivor Advocacy Services (SAS) is UTC's limited-confidential on campus resource. Limited-confidential means that SAS will only disclose non-personally identifiable information to the Title IX Coordinator and the Clery Compliance Officer, except in limited circumstances (i.e., with your consent, if the incident reported involves someone under the age of 18, if you are a threat to yourself or others). Please keep in mind that SAS is only limited-confidential when the reporter is a client of SAS and the communication is received in that capacity.
The Counseling Center and Student Health Services are completely confidential resources. That means that they will not disclose information to the University, except in limited circumstances (i.e., with your consent, if the incident reported involves someone under the age of 18, if you are a threat to yourself or others). Please keep in mind that resources are only confidential when the reporter is a patient or client of the resource, and the communication is received in the patient/client capacity.
Other Privacy Concerns
Requests for Limited Action
If you report an incident of prohibited conduct to the University, you have the right to:
- Request that your name not be disclosed to the respondent
- Request that the University not investigate the incident further or pursue disciplinary action against the respondent
- Decline to participate in a University investigation or disciplinary proceeding
- Decline to disclose the identity of the respondent to the University
The University (typically the Title IX Coordinator) will evaluate a request that your name not be disclosed to the respondent or a request that the University not investigate the incident further or pursue disciplinary action against the respondent. If the University honors such a request, then the University’s ability to respond fully to the incident (e.g., to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the respondent or take other remedial action) may be limited.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, or FERPA, personally identifiable information concerning a student report to a University official who is not a law enforcement officer (i.e., the Title IX Coordinator) will not be disclosed to third parties outside the University without the consent of the student except in response to a lawfully issued subpoena or as otherwise required or allowed by law.
If, during a University investigation of misconduct, a respondent makes a request to review documents concerning the investigation, FERPA requires that the university grant the student’s request to inspect and review records that relate specifically to him or her, but the university will redact the complainant’s name and any other identifying information to the maximum extent possible, if a Request for Limited Action has been granted. However, after the University has formally charged a student or employee with violating University policy, the respondent will have a due process right to be informed of the nature of the allegations against him or her, including the identity of the person who accused him or her of misconduct.
Tennessee Public Records Act
In contrast to a report to a University administrative official, incident reports prepared by UTCPD for law enforcement purposes are generally considered public records under the Tennessee Public Records Act and are not protected by FERPA, which means they will be made available to any Tennessee citizen upon request unless the report is part of an ongoing criminal investigation. In addition, the UTCPD is required by federal law to report the occurrence of certain crimes on campus, including sex offenses, in an annual report of crime statistics, but the report does not contain any personally identifiable information. The UTCPD is also required by federal law to issue timely warnings for certain crimes that represent serious or continuing threats to the safety of students or employees, but such warnings do not contain any personally identifiable information.