If I provide information to the investigator, can I remain anonymous?
We are careful to protect the privacy of all individuals who participate in the investigation process, including witnesses, but in some situations, effective investigation practices and the law require sharing witness information with others who need to know. This means that information about witnesses, including their identity and what information they share with the investigator, is shared only with the Complainant and Respondent and those directly involved in the investigation or resolution who have a need to know.
As part of an initial inquiry into a report made to our office, we keep all information about the report confidential and do not share it with others within or outside the University unless it is necessary for us to respond to the report, or there is a concern for someone’s immediate health or safety. We do this in order to encourage individuals who report or act as witnesses to feel comfortable reporting or participating in the process, to allow our team to provide support, and to gather information to assist in determining whether an investigation is appropriate or required.
However, when or if a formal complaint is filed and an investigation is conducted, we will need to provide both the Complainant and the Respondent with your name and the information you shared with us in order to ensure fairness.
The process provides a number of rights to both Complainants and Respondents, including the right: (1) at the outset of the investigation to receive written notice of the allegations, including the date and time if known, and names of those involved; and (2) at the conclusion of the investigation, to receive a copy of the report and all information gathered during the investigation and have an opportunity to respond.
As a result, if a formal investigation is conducted, both the Complainant and Respondent will have knowledge of the allegations and at the conclusion of the investigation will be provided with a report that includes the names of any witnesses interviewed and the information they shared.
As mentioned above, there may also be limited situations where, in order to conduct a thorough investigation, the investigator may need to share specific information provided by one witness with other witnesses in order to facilitate the fact-gathering portion of the investigation.
In summary, we will keep information provided to us and to an investigator as confidential as possible, but will have to disclose it to the parties if there is a formal investigation, and may need to disclose some limited information to other witnesses, so we cannot guarantee complete confidentiality or anonymity.